Crab fattening is widely practiced in Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and
Indonesia. Gravid female mud crabs with full orange-red egg masses are in great
demand in seafood restaurants of South East Asian countries. Due to its high price,
people started to hold immature female crabs in some kind of enclosures and fed
them until the gonads developed and filled the mantle cavity. This is how crab “fattening”
spread, initially, throughout South East Asian countries. Subsequently, the practice
of holding post-moult “water” crab of market size, in some enclosures,
for short period of time and feeding them until they completely “flesh out”
for getting quick returns also became popular. Cages, pens and small ponds with
net are being used for holding crabs for a short period of 3-4 weeks.
The mud crab resource is a natural bounty for our country, which has a potential
to change the socio-economic status of the coastal communities. The coastal poor,
fishermen and educated unemployed youths should realize this fact and take up crab
culture or fattening in eco-friendly way to raise their economic status. During
2005-06, India exported crabs (live and frozen) worth Rs. 164.98 crores, the major
market being South East Asian countries.