THE soft-shell crabs from Rakhine State hold a strong external market, and efforts are made to increase the number of farming acres from 167 to 500.
The soft-shell crab farming was operated on a trial run in Sittway, Taungup and Kyaukpyu townships in Rakhine State during the 2009-2010 financial year. An individual entrepreneur started to farm a maximum of around 50,000 crabs in Kyaukpyu Township.
The soft-shell crab farming has been running on 97.85 acres with two lakes in Sittway and Ponnagyun townships, 37.75 areas with five lakes in Kyaukpyu Township and 31.90 acres with six lakes in Taungup townships, Thandwe District, totalling 167.50 acres with 13 lakes.
When the crabs discard the old shell, they are sent to the cold storage factories, and the live cattle are packaged systematically for export.
Earlier, the discarded shells and legs were disposed of. Now, those by-products are turned into the feedstuff as well as the fertilizer by adding value, allowing the locals to receive job opportunities.
“The soft-shell crabs from Rakhine State are steadily conveyed to Japan, China Taipei (Taiwan), Hong Kong SAR, Singapore, Malaysia and European Union countries. Rakhine State Fisheries Department is ensuring that there is no fishing of small crabs in the market on account of the strong demand. The district and township departments concerned have been directed to choose the potential places destined to set up a natural marine sanctuary for sustainable crab exploitation. Additionally, to extend the crab farming acres, restoration of ponds in Taungup Township, Thandwe District, and land utilization permits have been sought. The increase of crab farming acres will commence in the coming rainy season. The number of lakes will grow up to 20. It will create job opportunities for the locals and generate revenue for the State,” said U Thet Oo, Director of the Rakhine State Fisheries Department.
For the native Scylla Serrats (Mud Crab) farming, raw materials collection, choosing the size of the crabs, sending the 100 gram sized crabs to the soft-shell crab farms, farming for 45-60 days before changing the shells, harvesting the soft-shell crabs, the concentration of 15ppm chlorine about 30 minutes before releasing it to the freshwater to have soft shells, cold supply chain, cleaning, sanitizing, choosing the size, weighing and packaging processes are carried out and then, they are placed in external markets.
The soft-shell crab businesses can produce 600 tonnes from raw to value-added products. Rakhine State Fisheries Department is endeavouring to sustain marine resources, along with all the stakeholders involved in the supply chain.
In order to meet the market demand, the number of soft-shell crab farming ponds will grow in Ponnagyun and Taungup townships, adding 333 more acres. — Nyein Thu(MNA)/GNLM