The authorities have imposed a two-month restriction on netting crabs from the Sundarbans during the ongoing breeding period.
The ban will remain effective from January 1 to February 28, said Mahmudul Hasan, divisional forest officer (DFO) of the Eastern Sundarbans.
“January and February comprise the breeding season of crabs. During this time the mother crabs release eggs. Then the crab larva comes out from the eggs,” he said.
Though the crabs are grown in the rivers or canals, they move towards the warmer water of the sea for breeding. Besides, the salinity of the sea water is higher, which is suitable for breeding of the crustaceans, he said.
“When the female crabs bear eggs, it is very easy to catch them. If the catching of crabs can be prevented during the time, there will be a boost in its production. And so, the government has imposed a ban on the netting of crabs from the Sundarbans for the two months,” said the DFO.
Crab catchers and traders, however, have expressed worry over the government decision to impose the ban, saying that it causes seasonal unemployment for a large number of people engaged in the trade.
“Most of the crabs of the area came from the Sundarbans. In January-February, the trade comes down to about zero. As a result, thousands of people involved in this profession become unemployed,” said Sanatan Das, a crab trader.
District Fisheries Officer Zia Haider Chowdhury said, “As most of the crabs are caught from the Sundarbans, the forest department has to put restriction on its reckless catching to save the species. The ban is especially necessary for smooth growth of crabs during the breeding period in January-February.”