During the monsoon the demand of the inland water crabs which are rich in protein are found almost everywhere in the state also increases. The demand for crabs (kurlio) is good in the state due to the tourism industry and especially the locals consume the inland water crabs due to their good taste. Consequently they are priced high in the local markets and cost around Rs 25 to Rs 100 per piece or sometimes more also depending on the size. Bigger the size more the price and in the markets if less number of crabs come and the demand is more the price is high. It may be noted that the sea crabs are cheaper than inland crabs and a ‘vato’ consisting of 10 to 15 crabs may be priced at around Rs 100, depending on the availability.
A crab vendor said, “The inland water crabs are in good demand as their taste is better than the sea crabs and are sold at various prices. The price of the crabs or any other fish depends on the quantity available and the demand.”
The traditional crabs fishing in Goa is done in the creeks, rice fields, close to the sluice gates and on inundated ‘khazan’ land and it is done with the help of handmade traps called a ‘cobllem.’ The traps are usually set up during high tide, although crabs can also be caught at low tide. The production of crabs may be less, however, there is local market for the crabs and especially during the monsoon time the crabs are found in plenty and as the monsoon arrives plenty of crabs are found from small to big ones and several people prefer this inland water crabs instead of the marine crabs.
It is learnt from the sources that for catching the inland water crabs some people go to rivulets and other small water bodies and the fishermen catch these crabs from rivers or other water bodies and if the fishermen finds a giant crab he will get more money and a big crab could be sold at Rs 500 to 1000 and it may be noted that the price of the crabs mostly depends on its size and bigger the crab more costly it is and the big crabs are mostly purchased by the hoteliers.
Crab supply in Goa is from marine and inland fishing and the ground level situation on crabs is pinching as consumption is increasing by the day and it outpaces supply by a wide margin. So there is always a demand-supply mismatch and consequently prices are high. In future too the mismatch is expected to continue and even widen unless steps are taken to increase its output.
According to the information available from the sources, crabs are a hot favorite among tourists and therefore it is priced accordingly vis-à-vis other dishes on the menu. However tourists do not mind shelling out as it is considered as an integral part of Goan food. It may be noted that the crab meat has very good demand in Singapore and Far East Asia but because of local low supply it is difficult to think of exporting crabs.