Training facilities for breeding and fattening crabs. (Photo: SEAFDEC/AQD)
Crab hatcheries needed to fix supply shortage: scientist
Monday, November 29, 2010, 03:00 (GMT + 9)
An aquaculture scientist believes that Brunei must build crab hatcheries to tackle supply shortage and eventually develop an industry of crab culture.
There is a shortage of crablets (small crabs) in various countries, and this problem has become a common one, according to Dr Emilia Quinitio, a scientist at the Aquaculture Department at the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Centre (Seafdec).
She said that Brunei could solve the problem by establishing crab hatcheries in order to produce seeds for crab culture farming.
"In Seafdec, we've done studies on the stock assessment for our country (the Philippines), but I do not know the real status here yet in Brunei so I still have to look at that, talk to some people here and visit the crab culture facility," Quinitio stated at a recent seminar on culture of soft shell mud crab and production, The Brunei Times reports.
Resources management is also a vital area to develop, especially for countries in which crablets and its numerous species still exist on a plentiful scale, she said.
"The immediate solution, like in other countries where crablet source is already a major problem, is to establish hatcheries," she declared.
Quinitio noted that the Brunei Bay is an ideal site to build up the crab culture industry because the area has a 70 per cent mangrove forest cover.
"Mangrove is the habitat of mud crabs, so it's good (good location)," she pointed out.
At the seminar, the scientist presented a paper on the hatchery of mud crabs which said that the aquaculture production of mud crab is dependent on wild-caught seeds for farming the animal in the Indo-west Pacific region.
At the same time, crabs raised in hatcheries have been used recently in the Philippines, Vietnam and China as a source of seeds.
Basic equipment for the commercial seed production of mud crabs has been created and is available.
Although mud crabs are sturdy, they can die if they are handled incorrectly or are exposed to extreme weather conditions. Because abrupt shifts in environmental conditions such as salinity and temperature can weaken the crabs, acclimation is a must.
When farmed, crabs are given natural food such as mussels, marine worms (polychaetes), fish or squid to eat with or without artificial diets. Each type of food is fed to the crabs separately to keep them from feeding selectively on preferred diets.
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By Natalia Real