Horsehoes Crab Flagship Project

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Background 

The particular horseshoe crab species exploited for its blood is the Limulus polyphemus which is endemically inhabit the Atlantic Ocean. In Asia there are another three species, Tachypleus tridentatus, Tachypleus gigas and Carcinoscopius rotundicauda. These species are exploited as exotic dishes, fishing bait and fertilizer. In Malaysia their status as fishery comodity attract interest of the fishery community and  the Fishery Department. The price per piece is RM8-RM15 in the wet market. The good price encourage fishermen to catch horshoe crabs more than fishes thus raise the question on sustainability, conservation and restoration effort for this living fossil species. To date, there is no effort taken to culture the horseshoe crab as there is no success story about rearing or breeding the animal in captivity in Malaysia and other part of the world. There are increasing reports on the polluted nesting beaches in Asia, e.g. in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. In addition, there are increasing number of horseshoe crab fishermen recently in Malaysia. The natural stock of horshoe crab as a commercial fishery commodity will be deminished if there is no efford to improve the natural stock in our coast. This project aimed to develop a nest mimicking the natural nesting habitat for horshoe crab.The nest will be prepared as to meet the control condition to initiate the horseshoe crab pairs to release and fertilise their eggs. The hatchlings will be reared in the nest and release to the sea periodically. The concept of the nest could also be extended to any sanctuary and eco-tourism effort to restore the animals. The development of the horseshoe crab nest will be an innovative way to exploit the horshoe crabs sustainably as fishery commodity, at the same time it is an efficient way to conserve and restore the living fossil as the natural heritage in our sea.

 

Objectives 

  1. To design the nest system for horseshoe crab husbandry.
  2. To produce at least 50000-100000 eggs from the campive spawning of horseshoe crab.
  3. To evaluate the performance of the brood stock and larvae living in the nest.

 

Activities