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Fisheries > Culture Fisheries > Crabs

General Information

Scylla serrata and Scylla tranquebarica are the common mud crabs occurring in the estuarine and mangrove areas along the coast of India. Scylla serrata is commonly called as “red crab” and it prefers to live in low saline waters, whereas S. tranquebarica , the “green crab” lives in high saline waters. Male crabs of S. serrata grow to 700 to 800 g at the maximum, whereas S. tranquebarica grows up to 3 kg. The export size of the crab is 500 g and above for males and 250 g and above for females.

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.

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