Frontier social conservation action and research on horseshoe crabs in Indonesia
Horseshoe crabs are marine and brackish water arthropods fully protected by the Decree of the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry Regulation No.20/2018 and Government Regulations No.7/1999. As a marine ‘living fossil’, one of them (Tachypleus tridentatus) is categorized as Endangered and the remaining two species (T. gigas and Carcinoscorpius rotundata) are labelled as Data Deficient by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). These species are presently facing extinction and a depopulation trend as a result of man-made threats, such as egg trade and by-catch. This project aims to inspect the total number of horseshoe crabs landed on the East Coast of Borneo, evaluate threats within their nursery grounds, and create a spatial-temporal distribution database. To achieve these objectives, an innovative socio-ecological approach will involve a wide-array of local stakeholders by assessing their perspectives towards horseshoe crabs, reducing the consumption of horseshoe crabs, and raising awareness and positive attitudes amongst local people. In addition, the team will work with the local community to propose innovative sustainable fishing gear to help reduce by-catch. Ultimately, this project will support future conservation actions and contribute to global horseshoe crab conservation efforts.