KOTA KINABALU: Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) has released some 45,000 mangrove crab seedlings (scylla tranquebarica) into the mangrove swamps in the state.
“Since 2018 to 2022, the seedlings have been released in the districts of Tuaran, Kuala Penyu and Kota Marudu,” said the varsity’s Borneo Marine Research Institute (IPMB) deputy director Dr Mohamad Tamrin Lal in a statement on Tuesday (Nov 28).
This year, he said, almost 3,000 seedlings were released at the Kota Kinabalu Wetland Ramsar site here in August.
“This activity involves a comprehensive approach that integrates scientific research, community involvement and long-term monitoring.
“Researchers at IPMB's crustacean hatchery are working to conduct more extensive research to identify suitable locations for the reintroduction of mangrove crabs to their original habitat.
“This will take into account factors such as water quality, sediment composition and the availability of ready-made food sources.
“By taking advantage of existing expertise, UMS researchers can ensure that the mangrove crab seedlings that are released have the best chance to survive and successfully adapt to the new environment,” said Tamrin.
He said the release programme was aimed at restoring and maintaining the mangrove crab population in Sabah waters.
The programme initiated by UMS in 2015, he said, was a follow-up to the success of the IPMB crustacean hatchery in carrying out mangrove crab breeding.
Through the programme, he added, UMS has shown that it was highly committed in preserving the biodiversity of the coastal ecosystem in Malaysia as well as supporting more sustainable management of marine resources.
He said that community participation and education were also key components of the release programme, adding UMS has partnered up with local communities, fishermen and related stakeholders to raise awareness on sustainable mangrove crab conservation.
Tamrin added that the IPMB was also able to develop a long-term monitoring and evaluation protocol to evaluate the programme's effectiveness and impact on the local mangrove crab population and the marine environment.