WARNING ABOUT LAND CRABS ON SAIPAN

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EDITORIAL

Saipan Tribune Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands

October 4, 2000

The Issue: Land crabs caught near cemetery dangerous for human consumption, according to DPHES.

Our View: Good piece of information but a bit too late for crab hunters of the late fifties and sixties.

It is good to know that land crabs caught near the Tanapag Cemetery have tested positive for PCB. At least we now know that it is toxic for human consumption, but a bit too late for many families who have hunted for this delicacy in the area since the late fifties.

Land crabs abound near marshland. Southern Tanapag where the cemetery is located is marshland. It is a venue frequented by land crab hunters since the fifties, even during and after the Naval administration turned over custody of these isles to the U.S. Department of Interior.

We know that a lot of families have sought land crabs to supplement family dietary needs over the last forty years. Many of the land crab meals came from the Tanapag area. Either families hunt for this delicacy themselves or buy them from hunters who visit the venue after a drizzle during full moon.

We quiz the impact on the health of frequent land crab eaters (more than forty years) and whether it is related to stomach, liver, kidney or even leukemia from Tanapag residents who have died in recent years. It may be a difficult task researching this issue, but a matter that can't be dismissed because of time and money. It should be researched to the hilt for only then would we know whether recent fatal illnesses contracted by residents originated from PCB infested land crabs and water.

It is really up to residents to force finality in arriving at the truth. Whatever conclusions are reached by impartial researchers must be followed by legal action to compensate families for a quiet killer that has long been in their backyards as a direct result of someone else's neglect. Only then would justice be had in this matter.

Si Yuus Maase`!

For additional reports from The Saipan Tribune, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Saipan Tribune.

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