Photo Credit: “Blue Crab On Market” by wpopp
Blue Crab, a delicacy in the US might be threatened on multiple ends. The crustacean which originates in Venezuela has fallen victim to a recent oil leaks in Lake Maracaibo.
Pipelines are often tangled and are not well maintained, oil often leaks and pollutes the lake which in turn affects the wildlife which inhabits the lake. Lenin Herrera, former president of the Institute for the Control and Conservation of Lake Maracaibo (ICLAM) states that “the main source of contamination by hydrocarbons is the oil industry.” The oil industry is often seen as uncontrolled due to lax regulation and disregard by the Venezuelan socialist government led by Hugo Chavez.
It has been noted the crabs that are being fished now often have oil stains on their shells and it is questionable whether or not they are safe for consumption. America constitutes 95% of the consumers of the delicacy which is unpopular in its native Venezuela.
(Various contaminates affect Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela and threaten the Blue Crab population)
In addition to being threatened by oil pollutants the crab’s also face threats via unsustainable crabbing practices. Fishermen have recently moved from utilizing mesh cages to longline methods which have decimated the crab population, much like the fish population worldwide. A number of the crabs caught are under the minimum legal size, removing a chain in the population and assisting in stunting Blue Crab population growth.
President Chavez is looking to win a fourth term in 2012’s presidential election hopefully the small fishing city of Zulia is able to gain his interest so the crab population and Lake Maracaibo can be spared.