Craig Schiller, from the Zoology Department, The University Of Queensland, Australia, authored a report entitled Assessment of the Status of the Coconut Crab Birgus latro on Niue Island with recommendations regarding an appropriate resource management strategy. The report (now available online) was first published by the FAO in April 1992 as part of the South Pacific Aquaculture Development Project, Suva, Fiji.
From the introduction:
A series of management proposals were developed to ensure the continuation of the coconut crab on Niue. A summary of the recommendations follows:
- No female coconut crabs with large orange-tinted abdomens or bearing external eggs to be taken or interfered with.
- Introduction of a minimum legal hunting size of 36mm thoracic length for all coconut crabs (includes providing a size-guide for hunters to use in the field to size crabs).
- Banning of all coconut crab exports.
- Introduction of closed hunting seasons.
- A comprehensive public awareness campaign (involving production of a large coconut crab conservation poster and educational video movie).
- Establishment of formal coconut crab sanctuaries.
- Banning use of dogs by coconut crab hunters.
- Instigation of a coconut crab monitoring programme.
- Preservation of coconut crab habitat.
Its large size (up to 1 metre) and land-based behaviours suggest Coconut Crab is a species with the potential for aquaculture, but there is very little published research available. It has been noted that wild populations of Coconut Crab are shrinking in the Cook Islands. H. H. Taylor, P. Greenaway, and S. Morris published a report (1993) in the Journal of Experimental Biology entitled Adaptations to a Terrestrial Existence by the Robber Crab Birgus latro – osmotic and ionic regulation on freshwater and saline drinking regimens.