Cultivating soft-shell crabs

  • (Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily)

  • Crabs are kept in sinks filled with good quality water. (Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily)

  • Crabs must be provided with good quality water and sufficient oxygen. (Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily)

  • (Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily)

  • (Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily)

  • The crab is moulting. (Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily)

  • The moulting process has just completed. (Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily)

  • Crab shells left after the moulting process are the source of protein for animal feed. (Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily)

  • One of the soft-shell crab dishes. (Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily)

  • Crab shells will turn hard two or three hours after the moulting process. (Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily)

  • Ke cultivates soft-shell crabs with new technology. (Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily)

After two years of exploration, a soft-shell crab breeder has successfully developed a breeding method with 90% of yield, allowing him to have full confidence in the development prospects of the industry.

Soft-shell crabs have high demand in both domestic and foreign markets but the present soft-shell crab production in Malaysia is unable to meet the needs of the domestic market, not to mention to supply the foreign market.

It means that the industry is having unlimited business opportunities and crab breeders would have a great opportunity to success by seeking more crab larvae to supply the market.

Soft-shell crab breeder Ke Wei-Fa used to engage in the machinery industry but shifted to cultivate soft-shell crabs two years ago.

He suffered a lot during the exploratory stage due to the low yield rate. Fortunately, with the assistance of his wife Lin Xiu-Qin and daughter Ke Ying-Li, he was able to get the right direction after obtaining more information through the Internet and agricultural magazines.

"They moult naturally when they are 30% larger than their original sizes."

Ke’s crab aquaculture in Pantai Remis, Perak produces about half a ton of soft-shell crabs monthly.

Actually, his intensive way of breeding can have much higher monthly production but the limited crab larvae allow only for slow growth in production. Therefore, he is able to supply part of the local market.

Ke told Sin Chew Daily that when his daughter was seeking for soft-shell market through the Internet, many foreign demanders were interested in making large number of orders. However, they did not make a deal as their demands were much higher than the amount he could supply.

In view of this, he is trying to adopt the technology transfer method to teach those who are interested in his breeding method, so that crab breeders from different regions can produce crabs together. He will then purchase soft-shell crabs from them with reasonable prices in order to collect sufficient amount that meets the demands of the foreign market.

He is currently getting crab larvae from Pantai Remis and the nearby fishing villages. He has the technology but is unable to develop his career due to the limited crab larva supply.

He said that they have worked out a bio-technology breeding method in which no chemicals are used to make the crabs moult simultaneously. Instead, the crabs are kept in sinks filled with good quality water and fed for about 18 days. They moult naturally when they are 30% larger than their original sizes.

“The technology requires more work as the moulting process takes only 20 minutes and the shells will turn hard two to three hours later. Thus, it requires immediate handling if you wish not to wait for another round of moulting after another breeding period,” said Ke.

For those who wish to have a better understanding about Ke’s soft-shell crab breeding method, please visit http://www.qualitycrabs.net. (Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE/Sin Chew Daily)

MySinchew 2009.07.03