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|Thursday, November 09, 2000, updated at 11:26(GMT+8)|
Passageway Smoothed Out for Chinese Horseshoe Crabs to Return to SeaFisherman in Beihai, a port city facing the Beibu Gulf, are removing nets and cages from the seashore to help smooth out a passageway for horseshoe crabs to return to the sea.
The peculiar looking crabs with a shell shaped like a horse shoe and a pointed tail have outlived dinosaurs and survived 400 million years. The horseshoe crab's blue blood was discovered to have medicinal properties for detecting bacterial toxins in the 1940s and this triggered market demand for the crab.
There are only four varieties of the ancient crab found on the earth. One of these rare species is the Chinese horseshoe crab.
Like turtles, small horseshoe crabs return to the sea after being born on the beach. However, increasing amounts of fishing nets and breeding cages for cash aquatics near the seashore are blocking the small crabs journey to the sea.
The fishing authority in Guangxi has recently initiated a publicity campaign to persuade fishermen to open a "corridor" in the sea area of Lianzhou Bay for the horseshoe crabs by removing their fishing equipment from under the water.
Meanwhile, the preparation work of building a natural reserve for horseshoe crabs is under way in Beihai city.
The output of Chinese horseshoe crabs is less than one tenth the amount of ten years ago, because of human consumption, said Liang Guangyao, a professor with the Guangxi Oceanic Research Institute in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southwest China.
The region took the lead in China by placing the species on a list of most protected water species in 1993.
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