Fiji Time: 10:55 PM on Wednesday 21 March

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Regulations on crab sizes for food, money

Solomone Rabulu
Thursday, November 23, 2017

A MATURED female crab whose shell size is about 17 to 18 centimetres can hold up to a million eggs.

This was revealed by the Ministry of Fisheries director, Aisake Batibasaga, while responding to questions on crab sizes regulations in Suva yesterday.

Mr Batibasaga said while crab meat remains a delicacy in Fiji, concerns over its population growth for both food and money was worrying.

"Regulations of sizes caught will now be exercised in the country because we want to see that the sizes of all curved carapace or crabs should be at least above 14 centimetres before they can be sold," he said.

"Our officers are informed to be on the lookout to see that all undersized crabs are to be confiscated and released back into the sea."

However, businesses or fishermen will need to get prior approvals from the ministry to be allowed to sell such sizes.

"We have a set size policy following our existing regulations that says these are the sizes that we want to have when being sold," said Mr Batibasaga.

"This issue of selling under-sized crabs is not a new issue. It has been happening for the past years and those vendors that come to sell this know that undersized crabs are not to be sold.

"What we want to see is stock management for these kinds of species, whether it is fish, crustaceans or any other marine organisms."

Mr Batibasaga said these regulated sizes were to actually allow for marine species to grow and reproduce for the betterment of food security in the near future.

"We are starting with crabs, groupers and coral trout from June 1 to August next year to see that there is a complete ban with its catching, harvesting, processing, selling or even exportations of these species especially for kawaka and donu," he said.

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