Coconut crab concern

Allen Lockington,Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka | Monday, June 5, 2017
I first saw a coconut crab at Orchid Island in the late 80s when I lived in Veisari.
Coconut crabs on Cikobia island. The crabs are a delicacy in many places but face the threat of extinction if over harvesting continues. Picture: SIKELI QOUNADOVU
Coconut crabs on Cikobia island. The crabs are a delicacy in many places but face the threat of extinction if over harvesting continues. Picture: SIKELI QOUNADOVU

Yesterday, Sunday 4/6 I read about it in The Sunday Times written by Sikeli Qounadovu.

Bloody good article Sikeli.

"There is growing concern on the over-harvesting of coconut crabs.

And if nothing is done, there is the risk of extinction.

The crab, which is a species of the terrestrial hermit crab, also goes by the name Birgus latro or more commonly known as ugavule.

The coconut crab is listed as data deficient on the IUCN Red List, effectively giving it no international protection (for trade purposes really). Under Fiji's endangered and Protected Species Act 2002, the coconut crab is not listed.

So it is not protected. What astounded me was this — the coconut crab is a household delicacy and with the growing demand, it is often bought for as low as $5 to $20 a kilo before being sold as high as $270 to $300 a meal in local eateries.

Who is raking in the money?

Anyway, Fiji can set up its own law and say that the ugavule is an endangered species and I will leave the rest to the experts to explain more.

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