With the sale of around 900 kilograms of green mangrove crabs that were picked out from Vengurla in Sindhudurg district this week, the farmers of the area made close to Rs 8 to 9 lakh.
And this has kickstarted the first phase of the mangrove crab-farming initiative aimed at making profit from selling crabs that have been growing in the private (mangrove) lands in Sindhudurg district.
Scylla Serrata, commonly known as the mangrove crab or the green crab, is immensely popular in the market all over the world – specially in south east Asian countries.
Private mangrove lands, which are otherwise considered to be of no economic value, offer a conducive environment for the raising crabs.
Green crab species requires around eight months for achieving marketable size to earn maximum profit.
Bhaskar Rawool, one of the lucky ones who has already earned a huge profit because of the crab farming, said: “For years, I cursed the fact that there were mangroves on my land. It meant I couldn’t construct anything or even cut the mangroves for firewood. But with this programme, I can turn my life around. In fact, now I encourage others to allow mangroves to grow on their land so they can earn a living from crab farming.”
The project is part of an UNDP-GEF project in association with the Maharashtra forest department to achieve “mainstreaming marine and coastal biodiversity into the production sectors of Sindhudurg district”, while focussing on providing additional livelihoods to coastal communities. Scaling up of the crab farming units will certainly bring good revenue for the district,” said N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forests, mangrove cell.
The natural stock of mangrove crab in the country was under threat from fishing activities. Besides exploitation, rapid urbanisation in the coastal belts had contributed to habitat loss of natural stocks. This initiative was launched to mitigate the loss.