Today’s Editorial for June 9: Give crabs a brake

Get out the flat repair kits and
keep an eye out for youngsters and their parents roaming the roadways at dusk.

It’s crab time in the Cayman
Islands.

And while we anxiously await this
time each year to enjoy the succulent meat these delicacies provide, we are
eating and killing them out of existence.

Many of our crabs are killed while
trying to cross our many roads, being squashed on roadways. It’s not easy for
drivers to avoid hitting a convoy of these crustaceans as they skitter across
the road and even more dangerous to do so as those behind the wheel could
easily lose control of their vehicles.

And talk to anyone who has ever
accidently run over a fat-clawed crab and had a hole punched in their vehicle
tire. More than one person has been late to work because of crab tire punctures
and Caymanian employers don’t act surprised when an employee calls in late to
fix a crab-induced flat tire.

Unfortunately we don’t have
legislation that would protect our land crabs. That’s why it is so important
that this Government does the right thing and finally passes a Conservation
Law.

As for what to do about the crabs
trying to cross the road there is verbiage in the Species Conservation Plan
that would create under-road conduits and animal corridors at key crossing
sites along migratory routes. While the thought is noble, we have to wonder who
is going to train the crabs to read the signs.

Seriously, though, we must all do
our part to preserve yet another endemic species in the Cayman Islands and stop
its rapid destruction.

Do travel carefully along the roads
during crab season to keep from hitting the creatures and the humans that are
collecting them.

If you are harvesting crabs, please
make sure you don’t take young female crabs and when they are making their way
to the shore to release their eggs into the salt water; let them travel in
peace.

If you want to go crabbing and
don’t know which to harvest, ask a Caymanian. They are taught from an early age
which crabs to take and which to leave so the species can survive.

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