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Community Participation in the Cham Island Nature Rehabilitation and Sustainable Gecarcoidea. lalandii Crab Harvest

About the Implementing organization

Name: Community group for sustainable G. lalandii crab conservation and harvest

Country: Viet Nam

Year of establishment: 2009

Type of organization: Community-based association or organization


This win-win initiative has empowered local people when they are a part of solutions. Firstly, if a crab is harvested in accordance with rules which are established by the community, it will be ecologically labeled and legally sold on the market. Those crabs without eco-labels will be confiscated and returned to the forest. The group’s members meet in the end of every month to discuss and review their activities and define the quantity of crabs that are allowed to be harvested and the prices for sale for the following month. In three years (2013 – 2015), there were 14,486 G. lalandii crabs including 9,890 males and 4,596 females harvested and ecologically labeled. The quota helps its rehabilitation of G. lalandii and then of coral reef and seaweed, which indirectly create 12 alternative livelihoods. These activities have strengthened the protection of the Cham Islands’ natural forests through their pilot culture of G. lalandii crabs at the community level and as the result of the pilot, local people are more aware of protecting forests. The G. lalandii crab obviously becomes a tourist product that brings in benefits for both the G. Lalandii crab group and other community groups in the Cham Island.

Nature Element

Forests / Oceans / Mountains

Type of Action

Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Awareness and education

Sustainable Development Element

Jobs and livelihoods

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)


Environmental Impacts

Thanks to no serious illegal harvest and trade activities since 2012, 75% of G.lalandii’s population has been conserved. It also reduce the pressure of marine resource exploitation affecting local coral reefs and sea grass grounds – these ecosystems that contribute to reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (through carbon sequestration). It is very meaningful when G.lalandii is considered a “bridge” connecting terrestrial forests with the marine environment and is a biological indicator of the health of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The effective conservation has enabled to maintain the richness of the Cu Lao Cham-Hoi An Biosphere Reserve which was globally recognized in 2009. In addition, the sound conservation and harvest of the Cham Islands’ G. lalandii has contributed to mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Sustainable Development Impacts

Local people have been well aware that G. lalandii must be preserved because of the community benefits and then the community has to be responsible for protecting this species.
The income of local people is stable thanks to eco-tourism and the G. lalandii . Cu Lao Cham was such a hot tourist spot, bio sphere reserve. In 2016, there were about 6,000 tourists which doubled in comparison with the population of the island. A fee for eco-labeling charges 50,000 VND (2.5 USD) for each kilogram of crabs. This revenue will be used by the community group to cover costs of eco-label printing, its management, payment of
natural resource tax and other activities. Developed eco-tourism has created opportunities for improving local people’s livelihoods and the quality of their lives. In 2013 there were more than 485 people from 169 households among a total number of 560 households, directly involved in eco-tourism activities.



In 2013, the local committee issued a decision on the establishment of a community group for sustainable G. lalandii crab protection and harvest in the Cham Islands and also approved its G. lalandii crab management regulations and other relevant legal documents in order to ensure all the legalities of the group’s operation in the locality. Since then, the group has assumed the responsibility to work together with the local authority and stakeholders to effectively protect the
Cham Islands’ G. lalandii crabs. In 2014, the community group received financial assistance from IUCN. Apart from that, much research of the G. lalandii crabs and models for the Cham Islands’ G.lalandii crab conservation and harvest has been conducted and developed by students from various universities (two for each province in Hanoi, Hue, and Da Nang). This model has also been considered to conserve alabone –another endangered species in the Cham Islands.


Thanks to the approach of integrated natural resource management and sharing of benefits among stakeholders, this model ensures the common consent when it becomes a great pride of the locality. Interesting exhibits on the island’s conservation and environmental protection are frequently displayed at tourism and environment protection fairs and/or exhibitions organized at local, regional and central levels. Apart from that, it has been learnt and replicated by various marine protected areas in other islands such as Con Co, Ly Son and Phu Quoc. As a result, it has earned a positive reputation nationwide. This eminent output proves that its lessons can be used as a useful recommendation for similar protected areas in the world to follow.

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