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Soft Shell Crab Farming

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soft_shell_crab

Introduction

Soft Shell Crab cultivation is one of the business opportunity that can bring good profits. However, this type of soft crab is getting more and more popular as all parts of this crab can be eaten. We no longer need to eat crabs with traditional techniques where we have to scrape the hard crab shells to pick up the meat.

The mud crab / mangrove crab (Scylla serrata) has five pairs of legs; the first pair of legs are modified into a pair of claws and not used for movement.

Pollution-free land, good management, and superior Juvenile are important criteria for successful cultivation of soft shell crab.

There are several kinds of mangrove crabs:

  1. Scylla Oceanica: this type of crab color is a little greenish and has a brown line in almost all parts of his body, except in the stomach.
  2. Scylla Serrata: this type of crab has a characteristic grayish color to green reddish shell.
  3. Scylla Transquebarica: the last one is greenish to blackish and there is a little brown line on the legs of the pool.

Compared to the other two crabs, the Scylla Serrata has a smaller size at the same age thus the demand is higher in the market.

Mud Crab Molting Its Shell

Mud Crab Molting Shell

Business Opportunities of Soft Shell Crab Farming

The demand for soft crab is increasing. This is an opportunity for us who have a hobby of raising, especially if our surrounding has the right environmental situation to breed the crabs.

Currently the menu of soft shell crab cuisine is still not so widely available in restaurants even though getting more and more younger generations like to eat this type of seafood.In Malaysia, most of the Fusion or Modern Japanese restaurants serve the soft shell crabs either in whole piece or cut into slices and mix with sushi.Some of the Thai restaurants served the soft shell crab with green curry or mix in “Songtam” – mango salad.

However, breeding soft crabs can not be done easily. We need to learn the technique of crab cultivation in order to make the farming successfully.

Soft Shell Crab Farming Preparation

Over here we will discuss how to cultivate soft shell crab and some tips that we can use to develop this business successfully.

1.Choose the Right Location

Choose a clean, clear and uncontaminated location with a salinity level of 15 to 35 ppt, a water temperature of 24 to 32 degrees Celsius, a minimum dissolved oxygen of 3 ppm and a water pH of 6.5 to 8.5.

The ideal location for developing this business is a farm located in the vicinity of growing mangrove plants. Generally pond land used is sandy mud. While the depth of the pond should not be less than 80 cm.

Traditional ponds that are usually used to breed milkfish or shrimp can be utilized.

2. Prepare the Equipment

equipment

Prepare the tools needed for the cultivation of soft shell crabs such as thermometer, pH meter and test kits to measure water quality.

3. Juvenile Selection

crab_life_cycle

We must make sure the Juvenile we used are good to be cultivated into soft crabs. A good juvenile normally weight around 0.1 ounces to 0.5 ounces.

4. Create a Cage for Soft shell Crabs

soft_shell_crab_cage

Cage – form of boxes with the size of 15 cm x 15 cm x 20 cm. Then the boxes are placed on top the pond surface. Create a road made of bamboo between the order boxes to facilitate the farmers to make observe the soft shell crab when they change the skins.

Techniques on Farming Soft Shell Crab

How to breed soft crab is actually easy, but it takes special skill and experience to do it. Therefore, we need to understand the technique of breeding soft crab before practicing it. Cutting is the process of farming the soft shell crab. Cut the legs and claws of Juvenile crab; the process is done to stimulate the crab going into the molting stage (stage of softening of the shell).

crab_molting_its_shell

Maintaining soft crabs is not done by spreading the crabs Juvenile carelessly into the pond, but we must place it into the cages after the cutting process done, then immerse it into the pond. The process of cutting until harvest will only last a short time, which is about 14 days, because if it is too long then the shell that has entered the softening stage can be harden again.The feed used for the enlargement of soft shell crabs in general like shellfish, trash fish, and pellets. The shellfish and half-dried trash fish were chopped up and given.

Techniques on Caring and Harvest Soft Shell Crab

The treatment that we must do is to keep the water circulation in order and control the pest. If the water circulation is not good, then many crabs will die. As for controlling pests we can spread environmentally friendly anti-pest drugs into the water. When the harvest comes, we pick up the soft crabs, then we soak them in fresh water for 30 minutes. After this, the harvest is ready to be distributed.

Success Tips and Marketing Strategies

Always keep the quality of soft crabs, separate between the good quality and the less good. This to make sure consumers are not disappointed when getting less good soft shell crab. However, for soft shell crab that quality is less good, you can still sell it at a lower price.

Preparation for Cooking: How to Clean Soft Shell Crab

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Cleaning Soft Shell Crab

cleaning soft shell crab

How to Clean Soft Shell Crab

Starting Out

Rinse the soft shell crab with water to help remove any dirt or debris clinging to the crab.

rinse soft shell crab with water

Cut off the Face

The first step is to, shall we say, deface the crab. Using the shears or knife, cut across the front of the crab, just behind the eyes and mouth-parts to remove them—it should all come off in a single, approximately 1/4-inch-wide strip.

cut off soft shell crab face

Remove the Gills

Now lift one of the corners of the top shell to expose the nasty-tasting gills, which look like frilly little beige pointy tongues. Grab the gills and rip them all out at the base. Repeat on the other side of the top shell.

remove the gill - 1
remove the gill - 2
remove the gill - 3

Pull off the Apron

Finally, turn the crab over to expose its underside. There you will find a flap known as the apron; for male crabs it will be long and thin, for females (as shown here) it will be wider. Lift the apron with your fingers and pull it off the body. It should come free fairly easily.

Now your crabs are ready to be cooked and eaten in (what remains of) their entirety.

Pull off the apron
Pull off the apron 2

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