Hunt for the high-valued crab Scylla serrata is the most remunerative task for the womenfolk along the mangrove belts in Krishna district.
Until the commercial value of the most sought brackishwater crab was known, the pursuit was limited to the Yanadi tribe who had mastered the art of venturing into the dense mangrove cover and water bodies to collect the crab with barefoot and hands.
While the south east Asian countries look at India’s mangrove patches for their consumption need, the progressive farmers in the country are running after the seed the scarcity of which has created an additional demand for it. The average price of the Scylla serrata is ₹1,200 to ₹1,500 per kg in any season.
Braving snakes, women from non-tribal communities in the Machilipatnam coast have taken up the lucrative activity. In one of the easily accessible patches near Kona village, women involved in such a pursuit could be seen.
“We venture into the brackishwater channel in search of the crab in the two-km stretch near our village. The catch depends on our luck, but it requires no fear to navigate through the muddy waters with barefoot,” they said. They refused to share their identities unwilling to get exposed to the public.
Hanging a bag on their shoulder, the women try their luck every day in search of the precious species that assures them a fair income. There is no survey on the number of women engaged in the activity though the catch has increased.