The demand for crab meat has been increasing over the years, though crab-farming is yet to catch up in the region.
Crabs are caught from tanks, rivers, bunds, paddy fields and wells by crab-hunters who bring their catch to towns and cities in the region during shandy days and earn between Rs. 300 and Rs. 1,000 by selling a crab for Rs. 10.
A large number of women are involved in crab-hunting and selling, says Nagavva Lakappa Nadvinmani of Hidkal village, who has been selling crabs at Belgaum’s Fish Market for the past few years. She earns up to Rs. 500 on a shandy day.
Crab is a popular dish of the people of the region. Puneet, son of a doctor, says crab curry is his favourite dish. For the poor living near water bodies, crabs are their first choice. According to National Institute of Oceanography, crab curry is good for those suffering from asthma. Similarly, soup made of crab species such as Portunus sanquinolentus and P. pelagicus is given for people recovering from malaria and typhoid.
Scylla serrata helps people overcome diarrhoea and dysentery.
Carapace of Uca spp. paste helps in controlling hyperacidity. Crab meat is rich in vitamins and is good for those suffering from cold, asthma, eosinophil, and other ailments.