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Geographical indication protection of “Ca Mau” for crab products

On June 8, 2022, the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam issued Decision no. 2576/QĐ-SHTT on granting Geographical indication registration certificate no. 00116 for "Ca Mau" crab products. The Department of Science and Technology of Ca Mau province is the organization managing this geographical indication.

Ca Mau is one of 13 provinces in the Mekong River Delta, with 3 sides facing the sea, which is convenient for aquaculture development. Sea crab is one of the products with high economic value, which is intercropped with shrimp and fish by most people in Ca Mau. Ca Mau crabs are highly appreciated because they are reared in the form of extensive farming in a brackish saltwater ecosystem, rich in food sources, so they have good quality such as firm meat, sweet and delicious taste, and high nutritional content. The consumption market for Ca Mau crab products is stable, directly purchased by traders at competitive prices, widely consumed domestically, and exported to countries in the region, especially China.

Ca Mau crab has a large size, the brick crab has a body length of 11.3 - 13.14 cm, a body width of 7.92 - 9.66 cm, a body thickness of 3.37 - 4.95 cm, weight from 0.26 - 0.39 kg/crab; Meat crab has a body length of 9.84 - 13.66 cm, body width of 6.68 - 9.96 cm, body thickness of 3.2 - 4.7 cm, weight from 0.22 - 0.46 kg/crab. In addition, Ca Mau crab also has a high protein and lipid (fat) content in crab meat and bricks. Ca Mau brick crab has a protein content of 14.06 - 19.99% in crab meat, a lipid (fat) content in crab meat of 0.46 - 2.1%, and a lipid (fat) content in crab meat of 5.64 – 10.62%. Ca Mau crab meat has a protein content of 14.34 - 18.75% in crab meat, and a lipid (fat) content in crab meat of 0.44 - 1.92%.

Ca Mau crabs have such unique properties and qualities, partly thanks to the specific natural conditions, suitable for the living habits of sea crabs. The geographical area corresponding to the geographical indication “Ca Mau Crab” has an average temperature of 27.1ºC (the highest in April and the lowest in January), and the difference between months of the year is not more than 5ºC. This temperature background is perfectly suitable for sea crabs to grow and develop. Water in the geographical area has an average pH of 7.36, salinity does not vary much from 7.00 to 36.10‰. On the other hand, the geographical area is less affected by storms, so the physiological activities of crabs have less strongly fluctuated.

Some areas on the east coast from Ganh Hao estuary (Dam Doi district) to Rach Goc estuary (Ngoc Hien district) are eroded by more than 20 meters per year. In contrast, alluvium deposits Mudflats of Ca Mau Cape annually from 50 to 80 meters. At low tide, the water level in the alluvial area recedes hundreds of meters, revealing a fairly flat coast made up of sand, clay powder, plant residues, and shells of crustaceans, creating favorable conditions for aquaculture in general and sea crabs in particular. The accretion areas are formed at a rapid rate at the river mouth such as Rach Goc, and Ganh Hao, bringing in fine alluvial materials. This is a suitable habitat for aquatic species and mangrove trees are a favorable environment for sea crabs to grow and develop.

Due to the habit of living at the bottom of the pond during the adult stage, factors related to the pond bottom also have a great influence on the growth, development, and product quality of Ca Mau crabs. The indicators of mud in the crab ponds should be suitable for the growth and development of Ca Mau crabs. In particular, the stable pH index (average 7.6) creates a favorable environment for crabs and the total dissolved salts (average 2.8%) create the firmness of the crab during growth. The geographical area is assessed to have the highest biological productivity in the coastal ecosystems of Southeast Vietnam, from aquatic species to tiny plankton. In the Ca Mau crab farming area, the crab food has a variety of benthic and zooplankton species in high numbers, which has a positive effect on the growth and development of sea crabs.

In addition to the natural conditions, the crab production skills of the people in the geographical area also play an important role, in determining the quality of Ca Mau crab. Ponds must have a firm, leak-proof embankment, and the height of the embankment must be 0.5 - 0.8m higher than the highest water level in the year, with water supply and drainage lines. The water environment is always guaranteed to have salinity: 15 – 25‰; pH: 7.5 – 8.5; water temperature: 28 – 32oC; alkalinity: 80 – 160 mg/l; Dissolved oxygen: > 4 mg/l; transparency: 30-40 cm. The water is light brown or pea green. In addition, people also dredge the bottom mud after 2-3 farming seasons to improve and release soil fertility.

Crab with the geographical indication of Ca Mau is a blue crab variety (scientific name is Scylla paramamosain) that is exploited naturally or artificially reproduced at hatcheries in Ca Mau province, stocked at a density of 1-2 fish/m in combination with other aquatic species such as shrimp, blood cockle... to supplement natural food for crabs. In addition, crabs are also supplemented with trash fish and mollusks exploited locally, supplemented with minerals, vitamins, and digestive enzymes. Feed the crab twice a day, the amount of food is 5 - 7% of the body weight/day. After more than 4 months of rearing, the crabs are harvested to reach commercial size so that the crabs have a uniform size and quality.

Geographical area: Including communes, wards, and towns in Ca Mau province, specifically:

- Rach Goc town and Dat Mui, Tam Giang Tay, Tan An Tay, Tan An, Vien An Dong, and Vien An communes of Ngoc Hien district;

- Nam Can town and Dat Moi, Ham Rong, Hang Vinh, Hiep Tung, Lam Hai, Tam Giang and Tam Giang Dong communes of Nam Can district;

- Cai Doi Vam town and Nguyen Viet Khai, Phu My, Phu Tan, Phu Thuan, Rach Cheo, Tan Hai, Tan Hung Tay, and Viet Thang communes of Phu Tan district;

- Dam Doi town and the communes of Ngoc Chanh, Nguyen Huan, Quach Pham, Quach Pham Bac, Ta An Khuong, Ta An Khuong Dong, Ta An Khuong Nam, Tan Dan, Tan Duc, Tan Duyet, Tan Thuan, Tan Tien, Tan Trung, Thanh Tung, Tran Phan belong to Dam Doi district;

- Cai Nuoc town and the communes of Dong Hung, Dong Thoi, Hoa My, Hung My, Luong The Tran, Phu Hung, Tan Hung Dong, Tan Hung, Thanh Phu, and Tran Thoi of Cai Nuoc district;

- Song Doc town and Loi An, Phong Dien, and Phong Lac communes of Tran Van Thoi district;

- The communes of Ho Thi Ky, Tan Loc, Tan Loc Dong, and Tan Loc Bac in the district

Thoi Binh;

- Tan Thanh ward and An Xuyen, Dinh Binh, Hoa Tan, Hoa Thanh, Tac Van, and Tan Thanh communes of Ca Mau city.

Center for Examining Geographical Indication and International Trademark