The Philippines is now adopting the technology on soft-shell crabs established in Myanmar and Thailand and refined for the country’s condition.
Soft shell crab is a term for crabs, which have recently molted their hard shell called exoskeleton. What remains is the newly molted skin or soft-shell (luno) as other local term. With the soft shell, the entire crab can be eaten without removing the shell to get the meat.
Crabs for soft-shell crab production in other countries are sourced mainly from the wild. The pilot-scale production of the crab in the Philippines is set up at the Dumangas Brackishwater station of the Aquaculture Department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center in Tigbauan, Iloilo.
This Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCAARRD-DOST) funded Project demonstrates the feasibility of using hatchery produced soft-shell crabs grown in net cages installed in brackishwater earthen ponds.
The crabs are reared in grow out ponds for 1.5-2 months until their body weight reaches 60-100 g. The crabs are then individually stocks in perforated boxes, which are placed in floating PVC platforms. Every 2-3 days feeding of low value fish or mollusks is done while water is changed every spring tide or when necessary.
Newly molted crabs are soft and must be retrieved immediately after molting because the shell starts to harden in 4 hours. Inspection is done every four hours.
According to Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center /Aquaculture Department (SEAFDEC/-AQD), sourcing seedstock from the hatchery either for grow out to market size or soft shell crab production, will reduce the pressure on the natural population.
For inquiry please contact Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development – Department of Science and Technology (PCAARRD-DOST), Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines 4030; Tel. Nos.: (63) (049) 536-0014/1956/2305/2383/5907/6980/7927; Fax: (63) (049) 536-0016/7922; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http:/www.pcaarrd.dost.gov.ph. (PSciJourn MegaManila)