The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources – Region 5 (BFAR-5) is taking proactive measures to raise awareness among fisherfolk and coastal communities in the Bicol Region regarding the recent sightings of poisonous crabs. According to reports from the National Stock Assessment Program (NSAP) and Provincial Fisheries Office (PFO), sightings of these hazardous crabs have been reported in Lagonoy, Camarines; Mercedes, Camarines Norte; Cawayan, Masbate; Gubat, Sorsogon; Bulusan Sorsogon; and Matnog, Sorsogon. BFAR-5 aims to educate the public about the potential dangers associated with these organisms and emphasizes the need for increased caution.

The specific crab species of concern is Zosimus aeneus (devil crab), locally known as “liod” or “kaligmata,” a toxic reef crab. Recognizable by its characteristic brownish blotches on a paler background, this crab harbors neurotoxins, namely tetrodotoxin and saxitoxin, within its flesh and shell. These toxins are resistant to heat or cooking and can cause serious harm, including paralysis, respiratory difficulties, and even death within a short period.

BFAR-5 expresses its gratitude to the fisherfolk for their vigilance and cooperation in reporting sightings of poisonous crabs.

However, to ensure the safety of the public, we strongly urge everyone to adhere to the following guidelines:

1. Educate yourself and others about the physical characteristics of the poisonous crab species, specifically the Devil Crab (Zosimus aeneus) and Floral Egg Crab (Atergatis floridus). Familiarize yourself with their appearance to accurately identify them.

2. If you come across any sightings of poisonous crabs, promptly report them to the Provincial Fisheries Office (PFO) or your respective Local Government Units (LGUs). Timely reporting will enable us to closely monitor the situation and implement necessary measures to mitigate potential risks.

3. Exercise utmost caution and refrain from direct contact with these crabs, particularly their pincers. It is crucial to avoid handling them without adequate protection, such as thick gloves or tools that maintain a safe distance.

4. In the event of accidental contact or consumption of a poisonous crab, seek immediate medical attention if any symptoms or allergic reactions occur. Ensure the proper disposal of any captured poisonous crabs, keeping them out of the reach of children, pets, or unsuspecting individuals.

5. BFAR-5 urges fisherfolk to share this vital information with fellow community members. By collectively spreading awareness about the potential hazards and adopting appropriate safety measures, we can foster a safer and more informed fishing environment.

BFAR-5 is fully committed to safeguarding the well-being of our fisherfolk and coastal communities. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and collaborate with local authorities, academic institutions, and relevant stakeholders to effectively address emerging challenges associated with the presence of poisonous crabs along our coastlines.


-Photos either under Public Domain or Creative Commons

-Okinawa Nature Photography

-Scott & Jeanette Johnson