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The Albanian fishermen were helpless against the raging blue crabs

Albania An invasive blue crab species native to the Atlantic is upsetting the lives of people in the Karavasta coastal swamp.

Green crabs are caught in fishermen’s fishing nets. Photo: AFP.

The Atlantic blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) looks beautiful but is seen as a threat to the ecosystems along the coast of Albania. Warm water has allowed this crustacean to proliferate in the Adriatic waters for more than a decade, severely affecting fishermen’s fishing practices.

In the Karavasta coastal swamps, crabs are everywhere. They damage fishing gear and endanger native species.

“Blue crabs are a real predator. They take away our daily food, including those caught in the nets,” fisherman Besmir Hoxha, 44, said while removing a green crab. fishing net. “Look! This crab tore the fish and bruised it, leaving us with nothing to sell.”

A green crab still holds the fish tightly when it is removed from the net. Photo: AFP.

“They are very aggressive and smart. This year, we saw green crabs everywhere, from the ocean, on the coast, in the rivers and lagoons, to the inland water. The damage was enormous. “fisherman Stilian Kisha, 40, added.

On some days, Hoxha and Kisha caught up to 300 kg of green crab, while only 5-6 kg of fish they sold to the market. The main sources of seafood such as sea bass, alum fish and native eel are slowly disappearing as the marine ecosystem is broken down.

Although crab meat is considered a delicacy in many parts of the world, Callinectes sapidus is not widely eaten in Albania. The effects of the pandemic also made this type of seafood unable to be exported abroad. Fishermen have no choice but to bring them out into the sun to burn them to death.

Each female crab can lay millions of eggs. Photo: AFP.

“This is the breeding time of the blue crabs so we have to stop them from moving to the sea to spawn. If they don’t act fast, they become more difficult to control like the corona virus,” said fisherman Adrian Kola, 27. , stressed.

According to professor of aquatic biology Sajmir Beqiraj at the University of Tirana in Albania, each female blue crab can lay millions of eggs. Global warming allows them to thrive, leading to a natural imbalance. Crustaceans not only degrade native crabs, fish, mussels and snails, but also destroy seagrass beds, which act as nurseries for organisms.

(According to AFP)

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