empowering millions

Current Affairs 2023

Horseshoe Crab - UPSC Current Affairs

Horseshoe crabs, one of the oldest creatures on earth, are disappearing from their spawning grounds along Chandipur and Balaramgadi coast in Odisha, India due to destructive fishing practices. Scientists are urging the government to protect the crabs before they become extinct, and have called for a Species Recovery Plan to be developed. The blood of horseshoe crabs is important for preparation of rapid diagnostic reagents and medicines, and the crabs are critical for human health.

Mar 18, 2023

3 min read

Horseshoe crabs are disappearing from their familiar spawning grounds along Chandipur and Balaramgadi coast in Odisha’s Balasore district. These crabs are medicinally priceless and are one of the oldest living creatures on the earth, and now they are under threat due to destructive fishing practices. Scientists are urging the Odisha government to come up with a robust protection mechanism before the living fossil becomes extinct. India has two species of horseshoe crabs, and the major concentration of these creatures is found in Odisha.




Horseshoe crabs have great medicinal value. Their blood is essential for the preparation of rapid diagnostic reagents. All injectable and medicines are tested with the help of horseshoe crabs. A molecule has been developed from the reagent of horseshoe crabs that would help treat pre-eclampsia, and the lives of many babies could be saved in the womb itself.


The horseshoe crab's population is declining due to several major issues. Unregulated fishing activities have affected their spawning activities, and their eggs are also damaged by locals. These crabs are deep-sea animals and come to the coasts of Balasore in Odisha and Digha and Sundarban in West Bengal for breeding purposes. The Japanese government has imposed a complete ban on horseshoe crab fishing, and they have declared the animal an endangered species.


India needs to take urgent measures to protect this oldest living creature on earth. Palaeontological studies say the age of horseshoe crabs is 450 million years. The creature has lived on earth without undergoing any morphological changes. Scientists are surprised to find a strong immune system in the animal that helped it survive millions of years. The animal is critical for human health. If we don't put any efforts now, horseshoe crabs would not be found in India in the next few years.


The scientists have urged the Odisha government to take immediate action and develop a Species Recovery Plan for horseshoe crabs. The government must take steps so that horseshoe crabs are not disturbed, and it may be necessary to revisit the new breeding grounds before the destructive fishing practices affect these creatures.


In conclusion, horseshoe crabs are vital to human health, and their population is declining rapidly due to destructive fishing practices. It is time to act now, and the Odisha government must take urgent steps to protect these creatures. A Species Recovery Plan is the need of the hour, and everyone must work together to save this oldest living creature on earth.


Based on a report in the Hindu titled 'Horseshoe crabs disappearing off Odisha has scientists alarmed'.

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