Qari or sea water crabs

HAVE you ever wondered why crabs or qari are unbelievably sold at a much higher price at the municipal markets?

How would you react if a bundle of qari cost $130?

Most people would settle for a much cheaper bundle of fresh fish or other seafood delicacies.

However, fisherman Atunaisa Koroi of Vuniulu in Rewa explains how he sacrifices a lot of his time for this crustacean.

Mr Koroi has been a market vendor since he was a young boy.

He was not interested in going to school, but rather joined the elders on fishing trips.

Today, he sits proudly at his table at the Suva Municipal Market selling crabs. Traditionally, these crabs are only harvested when they are in season.

They taste best and are easier to harvest when in season, according to Mr Koroi.

He comes to the market on Thursdays and Fridays only.

He said on Mondays, he would go into the sea to put his net out near the mangrove swamps.

In seasons’ he said crabs were big, clumsy, plentiful and tasty.

Sometimes he would be accompanied by his wife and children and they would camp out near the mangrove spot.

On the first day, he can catch up to two large crabs. He will return on Tuesday to check his net until he has enough to make his trip to the market worthwhile.

By Thursday he would have enough crabs to sell.

Last week, he was spotted with six big bundles of crabs at $130 each and six small ones sold at $80, $50, $30 and $15 a string.

Mr Koroi said he spent hours catching crabs. He would leave home according to the tide.

“It’s easier to catch them during high tide , that’s when they find their way out of the mangroves,” Mr Koroi said. On several occasions, Mr Koroi had his hands bitten, but he would stay in the water until he gets them all out.

“Life is not easy,” he said.

“I am thankful to God, for giving me the breath of life to provide for my family,” he said.

He said crabs were in season during this time of the year until August.

After the yearly harvest, crabs would be left alone until the next season. The mangrove swamplands also would be left alone to recover from their trampling until the next crab season.

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