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Fisheries > Culture Fisheries > Crabs

Crab Fattening

This involves holding of large-sized crabs that have recently molted (also known as “water crabs”) for 10-30 days until they become hard . Soft-shelled crabs of size 8 cm carapace width and above or crabs of more than 550 gm are stocked in the density of 1 crab/m2. The stocking density is normally 1 to 3 crab/m2. Crabs are fed with bivalve meat or trash fish. Feeding is done daily at the rate of 5 to 10% of body weight. The duration of fattening is 20 days.

This type of activity has become very popular throughout the Asian countries due to increasing demand for gravid females and large size hard shelled ones in seafood restaurants. Fattening of mud crab is undertaken in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Orissa and West Bengal.

This is the process of stocking juvenile crabs (10 g to 250 g) and allowing them to moult and grow. Harvest is done after 3-8 months or once the crab reaches 400 g to 500 g size. Mud crab fattening is the most suitable method for small-scale aquaculture because

  • Turnover is fast, hence, the period between investment and returns is short.
  • Fattened crabs can be stocked at higher densities (15 crabs/m2) compared to grow-out systems (1 crab/m2) as no molting occurs and therefore losses due to cannibalism are dramatically reduced.
  • Short production time reduces the risk of losing crabs to disease, thus rendering a higher survival rate for fattening (>90%) compared to grow-out systems (40%).


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