Zanzibar investigating mass deaths of swimmer crabs

Zanzibar’s Ministry of Blue Economy and Fisheries has said they are investigating the cause of deaths of swimming crabs which occurred on September 28, 30 and October 2, 2022.

The crabs were washed ashore at different beaches in Unguja Islands, causing alarm among conservationists.

According to the director general of Zanzibar Environment Management Authority (ZEMA) Mr Sheha Mjaja Juma, the deaths of swimming crabs were spotted at Mtoni Beach and around Hotel Verde; and Mizingani- Forodhani public beach in Stone Town.

“Similar incident of mass death of swimming crabs was also reported in western Indian ocean countries such as Seychelles,” he said adding that the crabs are also specified as Trapezia cymodocea under the name of ‘Red Coral Crab; which live in corals, eight metres in the sea.

Preliminary reports has so far suggested that the death was due to climate change which led to abrupt alteration in temperature.

“Some living things like the swimming crab cannot resist the sudden changes in the sea temperatures, and therefore they die and are washed ashore,” reads the joint statement by the Isles fisheries Ministry; tourism Ministry, and the environment authority- under the First Vice President’s office.

The government has a result allayed any fears by locals, fishermen, and tourists about any pollution, and that the incident is being investigated to establish the cause of the mass deaths.