Summer heat dries up Rakhine —China crab trade

Rising temperatures in Myanmar have caused the trade of pregnant crabs to China from Rakhine State to come to a halt, according to local crab wholesalers.

Crab wholesalers have stopped purchasing the crustaceans after the steady rise in temperatures during the recent summer months has caused them to habitually die from the heat on-route before arriving at the Myanmar – China border town of Muse. “We get a good price [for the crabs] on the Chinese market, but we’re not in a position whereby we’re able to export them anymore. Pregnant crabs can last a maximum of three days on the road. The midday heat from the sun is scorching hot and any delay on the roads only causes more fatalities.” said Ko Ah Woo, a crab wholesaler from Minbya. With a coastline that stretches along its side, crab exports to China is one of the primary forms of enterprise for Rakhine State.

But, lengthy periods of malpractices in over-catching, together with climate change and natural tidal destruction has impacted on crab populations, depleting numbers annually.

“The months of May, June and July are when pregnant crabs lay their eggs, which is how we can catch such crabs during these months. Now though, the crab wholesalers aren’t purchasing pregnant crabs anymore. They’re just sold in the local market. Crabs have become scarce; a lot of the crabs caught are only of a small variety.” said U Nyi Taute Kyel, a fisherman from Thinganet village of Myebon township.

The natural fresh and salt water Rakhine State townships of Yethedaung, Buthidaung, Myebon, Minbya and Paukdaw see the highest catches of mud crabs within the state, with roughly a hundred crab wholesalers in operation per township.

A kilo of crabs in the aforementioned wholesalers fetch roughly K2,000 where they are bought in bulk and transported within the country to Myanmar’s urban centres of Yangon and Mandalay, as well as exported to China via the Myanmar border market of Muse, according to crab traders.

Source: Myitmakha News Agency

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