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Conservation of Asian horseshoe crabs on spotlight

John, Akbar and Shin, Paul and Botton, Mark and Gauvry, Glenn and Cheung, SG and Kevin, Laurie (2020) Conservation of Asian horseshoe crabs on spotlight. Biodiversity and Conservation, 30 (1). pp. 253-256. ISSN 0960-3115 E-ISSN 1572-9710

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Unlike the American horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus), whose fishery and harvest are well monitored and managed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the conservation of Asian species, i.e., the tri-spine horseshoe crab (Tachypleus tridentatus), the coastal horseshoe crab (T. gigas) and the mangrove horseshoe crab (Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda), is a more formidable challenge, due to the intricacies of regional laws and inconsistent enforcement (John et al. 2018). In the near future, four scenarios will intensify the negative pressure on the wild populations of Asian horseshoe crabs: (1) unsustainable harvest pressure on T. tridentatus and its cross-border trade from Vietnam to the mainland China for biomedical bleeding practice and human consumption, (2) legal or illegal export of T. gigas and C. rotundicauda between ASEAN countries for consumption as a local delicacy, (3) spawning and nesting habitat degradation due to coastal reclamation, industrialization and climate change, and (4) at the genomic level, ritual release and confiscated illegally exported Tachypleus spp. released into non-native habitat or far from the home range of respective species might trigger ‘genetic bottle-neck’ and the ‘founder effect’ (Herborg et al. 2007; Yang et al. 2009). Destruction of horseshoe crab spawning grounds has led to the extinction of adult T. tridentatus in Kinmen Island, Taiwan. Similarly, with C 90% population decline of juvenile T. tridentatus in Hong Kong will likely end up in its local extirpation. Gravid female-biased harvesting of T. gigas from Indonesia and Malaysia exported to Thailand for local delicacy has steeply increased in the last decade, resulting in imbalanced sex ratio in the wild (Mat Zauki et al. 2019a, b). Owing to continued population decline, T. tridentatus biomedical bleeding harvest for Tachypleus amebocyte lysate (TAL) production in mainland China has dropped from 600,000 pairs during the 1990s to 100,000 pairs currently (Gauvry 2015). T. tridentatus has recently been listed as ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN

Item Type: Article (Letter)
Additional Information: 7130/84708
Uncontrolled Keywords: Asian horseshoe crabs
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Kulliyyahs/Centres/Divisions/Institutes (Can select more than one option. Press CONTROL button): Kulliyyah of Science
Kulliyyah of Science > Institute of Oceanography and Maritime Studies
Depositing User: Dr. Akbar John
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2020 09:43
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2021 09:49
URI: http://irep.iium.edu.my/id/eprint/84708

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