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10 Conclusion

It has been clearly shown that the coconut crab population on Niue is suffering from the combined effects of over-exploitation and habitat destruction/fragmentation. The result is a small population of small individuals concentrated in the small remaining areas of Coastal Forest. The coconut crab population is in serious decline and is rapidly approaching the stage where it will no longer be reproductively viable. It is essential therefore that coconut crab stock not be permitted to decline below current levels. Ensuring this will require a dramatic change in both the attitude and hunting practices of the people of Niue.

Of the management measures proposed, those providing for the protection of crabs with eggs and the cessation of crab exports are central to the management/conservation of the coconut crab on Niue. It is imperative that action be taken now, in the form of enforceable and enforced protective legislation, to reverse the present decline of the crab population before it is too late.

Also of high priority is the instigation of a programme of regular monitoring of the size and exploitation levels of the coconut crab population. The data produced by such a programme is required to accurately assess the effectiveness of management measures and to calculate a viable sustainable yield. This type of management data is as yet not available and would be of benefit to all countries with coconut crabs.

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