Going to the beach to "hunt" for stone crabs
5/7/2024 4:52:22 PM
View font:
 Achievement after a period of diving around the rock embankment
Diving right at the foot of the coastal rock embankment in Giang Hai commune (Phu Loc), precisely at the moment when the waves had not yet reached, Mr. Hung extended his hands into every crevice. In just a moment, he firmly held in his hand a stone crab (Gecarcoidea) with its two large claws.
Achievement after a period of diving around the rock embankment

At 4 p.m., when the waves gently washed against the coastal embankment, Mr. Hung and Mr. Nhan also prepared for the final crab-catching session. Immersed in the sea for two hours, Mr. Nhan's hands began to ache; scratches from the rocks and sand were stinging.

He said: "Stone crabs usually forage at night, so during the day, whether morning or afternoon, the coastal rock embankment becomes a hiding place for crabs. This is also the easiest time to catch crabs, but it's also very difficult because catching stone crabs requires many skills."

Not only do they need to know how to swim and dive, but crab hunters also need to equip themselves with diving goggles and gloves to avoid the sharp claws of the crabs. Despite being well-equipped, accidents are not uncommon for crab hunters.

Mr. Nhan explained: "Due to the constant waves, the rock embankment will have some very sharp areas. In addition, the morning sea waves are mostly calm, but in the afternoon, strong winds and big waves make the crab-catching process much more difficult. Areas where the water meets the embankment are also very dangerous because there will be sunken part where the water is very deep. Therefore, we have to carefully watch the time, how to feel the presence of crabs in every crevice, and quickly dive and catch them before they can clamp or hide."

Previously, in the flat beach area of Phu Loc district, stone crabs only appeared in natural rocky areas along the coast. Since the emergence of coastal erosion prevention embankments, stone crabs have had additional new habitats, and their numbers have increased rapidly. However, the stone crab hunting season on the beach only lasts for a short period.

Crab hunters must equip themselves with gloves to avoid the strong claws


Mr. Hung said: "This year is the first time I've hunted stone crabs at the coastal embankment of Giang Hai beach. With the characteristics of the waves in this coastal area, the crab hunting season only starts from February to the end of March on lunar calendar. Before that, the sea level was too high, and if not being careful, it would be easy to be swept away by the waves. After March of lunar calendar, the sea water recedes further, revealing the hiding places of stone crabs, and they will move along with the waves away from the coast."

For crab hunters, besides skills and experience, luck is indispensable when immersing themselves in the water to catch crabs. On lucky days, Mr. Nhan and Mr. Hung can catch 1-2kg of crabs each. As the type of crab living in the natural marine environment, the quality of stone crab meat is highly appreciated. Typically, each crab weighs from 50 to 200 grams. Due to the short crab-catching period, the crab-catching process is difficult, and the price of stone crabs usually ranges from 250,000 to 300,000 VND/kg depending on the size.

Not only Mr. Nhan, Mr. Hung, many beachgoers have also tried the feeling of diving in the water to catch crabs. Mr. Chung, a beachgoer from Hue City, said: "I really like looking at the basket of stone crabs that I caught. I also went down to the sea to try my luck. However, catching crabs is much harder than I thought, my right arm got scratched before I could catch any. Truly, the skills of crab catchers are quite impressive."

As a sturdy and sweet meat crab, stone crabs can be used to prepare many delicious dishes such as steamed, hotpot, salt-roasted, tamarind-roasted, etc., Mr. Nhan added: "This time of year is the easiest time to catch stone crabs, so even though it's extremely hard, I try to go to the embankment twice a day. The feeling of catching stone crabs with your own hands, having delicious food for the family, and having an extra source of income during leisure time is truly joyful."

Story and photos: MAI HUE