21 May 2009

Results of Horseshoe Crab Survey by Nature Society (Singapore)

The results are out in the latest edition of Nature News!
Coastal horseshoe crabs (Tachypleus gigas) trapped in a drift net
Our horseshoe crabs are listed among the threatened animals of Singapore due to habitat loss. They are also often trapped in abandoned fishing nets. Such as the mating pair above seen on the Sentosa shore that has since been reclaimed for the Integrated Resort.

Thus the NSS effort for horseshoe crabs is timely in understanding these fascinating animals so that we can better protect them.

The effort included a survey for horseshoe crabs as well as interviews with fishermen about horseshoe crabs.

The survey covered eight locations: Changi Point, Pasir Ris, Lower Seletar, Mandai, Lim Chu Kang, Sarimbun North, Sarimbun (South) and Sungei Pandan.
Among the findings was that "the Coastal horseshoe crabs (Tachypleus gigas) are restricted to the north-eastern coast, and their numbers are low. This is some evidence that the species is endangered. The Mangrove horseshoe crabs (Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda) favour the northwestern coast, and seem much more abundant."

Among the main findings from interviews with the fishermen was that "fishermen need to be informed that these species are threatened, and they should always release them if caught."
The fishermen also shared anecdotal information about when and where horseshoe crabs were encountered.

Another finding was that "horseshoe crabs are caught in nets as by-catch, but most fishermen typically throw them back into the sea. However, one reported that he keeps the large ones to eat. Others said that the eggs can be eaten, but in general, there seemed to be little enthusiasm to consume these crabs."

Download the full Nature News for more details.

You CAN make a difference! It's simple.

Join the Nature Society's continuing efforts in Horseshoe crab Rescue and Research on 30 May (Sat) and 27 Jun (Sat).

AND you can also release any horseshoe crabs that you might see when you are on the shore. Like these people have done.
Drift net on Chek Jawa
Releasing trapped horseshoe crabs on Chek Jawa in 2007.

Drift net removal at Belayar Creek
Releasing trapped horseshoe crabs on Berlayar Creek (next to Labrador) in 2007.

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