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BD can earn huge forex by crab farming

7 Feb 2017

Gazi Anowarul Hoque :
Bangladesh has a bright prospect to earn huge foreign currency by exporting mud crabs as their demand in the global market is booming up. Its farming has also been expanding fast as an industry in the coastal districts.
Considering the higher productivity, mud crab seeds are produced through induced breeding and larval rearing in the hatchery, which has developed in countries like Philippines, Thailand, China, Japan, and Australia, say Fishery experts.
Bangladesh has also been succeeded in this case, they added.
Talking to The New Nation Chief Scientific Officer of Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute (BFRI) Dr. Enamul Haque said, a project to this effect would be implemented by the Department of Fisheries (DoF) and BFRI in greater Khulna and Cox’s Bazar regions.
The current crab sector is dependent on wild-caught crab lets from the Sundarbans, which is unsustainable to the ecological balance, he said.
A study report conducted by Dr. M.J Alam, Chief Scientific Officer of Brackish Water Station in Khulna said, “The development of an appropriate fattening practice of mud crab may undertake in the lentic and lotic water system.”
Mud crab culture is already a significant industry for poor coastal communities. A range of relatively low cost interventions can be introduced to grow the industry, including a better programme of crab conservation in the Sundarbans, improved husbandry of crab seed through nursery systems and improved grow-out practices, including use of commercial feed.
Therefore, establishment of crab hatchery with the help from the government, NGOs or donors to ensure continuous supply of crab lets and stock in the natural water would help reduce pressure of wild catch to maintain biodiversity.
Exports of this kind of crab have sharply increased over the last decade as it uses in China and other Southeast Asian restaurants as a delicious dish.
According to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Bangladesh exported crab worth Tk 3.5 billion in 2013-14 and Tk 4.72 billion from July-May in 2104-15 financial years. The export volume has jumped about 42 per cent in the last 15 years.
China is the major destination of Bangladeshi crab, accounting for as much as 80 per cent of its exports and other destinations are Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and South Korea.
Live mud crab exporter Jahazeb Rawnak of Grow Group told The New Nation, a 300 Kilograms live crab is worth Tk 600-700. Its main export destination is China and Thailand. Being a non-traditional food in locally it has a bright prospect than shrimp exporting.
According to the business insiders, Satkhira, near the Sundarbans, is the district where 30 per cent of total mud crabs are extracted. Parulia of Satkhira is the biggest depot in the region.
Parulia Crab Processing Traders Association President Gopal Bishwash said everyday they process 7.0 tonnes of mud crab in Parulia. The volume changes in different seasons.
National Coordinator of Bangladesh Mangroves for the Future Initiative Anwara Begum Shelly said no natural resources are infinite. If the government wants to promote export of mud crabs it should introduce hatcheries and nurseries as India, Myanmar and Thailand did for cultivation of farm varieties rather than allowing collection from the nature.

(This article was published in the daily New Naon on 08th-Jul-2015)

The writer is a Marine Conservationist based in Bangladesh. He can be reached at gazianower@gmail.com 

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