The black crabs of Providencia

With the arrival of the first rains between April and June, Providencia is the scene of a spectacular natural phenomenon. Each night during the wet season thousands of black crabs (Gecarcinus lateralis) descend from the forests of High Hill and release their eggs in the waters between South West Bay and Freshwater, wriggling their abdomens in the surf to deposit their eggs. The hatchlings are born in the sea and return to the hills one month later.

During the migration the road that encircles the island is closed to traffic, thus allowing the crabs free access to the beaches without the risk of being run over. Coralina, the government’s environmental agency on the archipelago, has banned the capture and eating of crabs during the breeding season and anyone caught disobeying the ban risks a heavy fine equivalent to three months of the minimum wage.

Many of the islanders make a living from crab fishing, but during this time the hunters turn protectors, as they are employed as enforcers of the ban, thus ensuring that Providencia’s black crab population will continue to thrive.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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