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Horseshoe crab (Tachypleus gigas)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 160513132

Assessment of Population status and breeding ground condition for the Indian Horseshoe Crab along with A step towards its

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 160513132) - Horseshoe crab  - Awarded $3,900 on October 20, 2016In India, along the north-east coast, Horseshoe crabs (Tachypleus gigas) are abundantly distributed. In earlier studies carried out along the coast of Odisha especially in Balasore coast district limits, a large population of the horseshoe crabs was seen migrating for the purpose of breeding regularly. Unfortunately, of late the population of horseshoe crab has been showing a declining trend where hardly one or two breeding pairs are seen in an area of 200 m2.
Though most of the biogenic activities occur in the open ocean, the horseshoe crabs specifically migrate towards the shore for the purpose of breeding where they lay their gametes in nest on sandy beaches. These animals in large number migrate towards the shore depending in co-relation with upon the tidal height where they spawn in nests made in sand. There are some specific physical factors such as wave characteristic, seabed slope, beach gradient that play an important role, singly or collectively, in the spawning migration of the horseshoe crab. Any major change in these factors due to sudden disturbances of the sea may affect the normal behavioral activity of these animals.
Large populations of the horseshoe crab are killed due to continuous un-regulated fishing activities along the Odisha coast. Secondly, the local fishermen of Odisha are not aware of the economic importance of the horseshoe crab and hence these rare animals are discarded on the shore whenever they get caught in the fishing net discard them on the shore once they are caught in their fishing net. This has also resulted in heavy mortality of the animals. Destruction of potential spawning grounds due to climate change and anthropogenic activities have resulted in considerable depletion of the population of horseshoe crab along the coast of Odisha. Implementation of conservational measures and awareness in local people to realize the importance of horseshoe crab will protect this important component of biodiversity from extinction.
However, in spite of all previous study, no concerted effort has been made to study in detail the spawning habitat and manmade activities effects on the breeding ground of Horseshoe crab in Balasore coast in Odisha. The depleting population and losing important biodiversity has prompted me to undertake such a conservation project.
The objectives of the project are :
(1)Assessment of Manmade activities effects on the breeding ground of Horseshoe crab in Orissa and Identifying the most influential factors (e.g. sediment, water,) that worked in favour and/or against to the nesting sites of Indian Horseshoe Crab.
(2)Cleaning the breeding beaches to enable the horseshoe crab for successful spawning with the help of students from School ,University and other voluntary organization.
(3)The villagers, Community people will get involved in the awareness events like campaign, Art competition for conservation of horseshoe crabs in coastal villages. These awareness events will be organized in association with scientists, policy makers, NGO and trust people.
(4)Possible request will be offered to authority, conserve and manage this vulnerable breeding ground of this valuable animal.

 


Project documents