Quang Nam promotes sustainable exploitation of terrestrial crabs hinh anh 1 Terrestrial crabs - a speciaties in Cham Island (Photo: culaochamtour.com)

Quang Nam (VNA) – Terrestrial crabs (Gecarciudea Lalandii) on Cham Island, in central Quang Nam province has been saved from the brink of extinction thanks to the efforts by a group in charge of protecting and managing crab exploitation since 2013.

The 36-member group works under the supervision of relevant authorities. Members of the group are allowed to catch some 50 crabs with large shells measuring 7 centimetres or more every month. The crabs are then labeled with a specific stamp before they are sold to the customers. Strict punishment will be handed out to any restaurant consuming crabs without the stamp.

From the outset of this year, roughly 3,000 terrestrial crabs with quality stamps have been sold in the market.

Harvest time for the crustaceans takes place from the first month to the seventh month of the lunar calendar. Collection during their breeding season is forbidden.

Previously, local fishermen could catch up to tens of kilogrammes of terrestrial crabs a night, however, each kilogram was selling at a low price, according to Tran Cong, head of the group.

Tourism development on the island coupled with increasing demand for terrestrial crab have driven up its price, he noted, adding that each kilogram is now sold for 1 million VND 44.8 USD)-1.8 million VND (80.7 USD).

In the past, thanks to the steady income brought about by the crabs, crab-catching was once prolific among local residents, resulting in a drastic fall in the crab population.

Le Vinh Thuan, deputy director of the Management Board of Cham Island’s Marine Protected Area, said that the group has made great contributions to protecting the terrestrial crabs, helping maintain biodiversity in Cham Island’s world biosphere reserve.

Terrestrial crabs are dark in colour and have long legs and short pincers. The crustacean is nocturnal and spends most of the day hiding in burrows, which are 400 metres above sea level.-VNA