CRABLET HATCHERIES: Key To Increased Crab Production

CRABLET HATCHERIES: Key To Increased Crab Production
Photo shows the happy faces of Dr. Emilia T. Quinitio, crab expert, and Julian Arlante Jr., crablet trader, at the First National Mud Crub Congress in Iloilo, Nov. 16, 2015.

At the just-concluded national mud crab congress in Iloilo City, it was very clear that to increase production of crabs for export and for the local market, there should be year-round availability of crablets for grow out operations.

As of now, crab growers virtually depend on crablets gathered from the wild. The problem is that the availability of crablets from the wild is seasonal. Another disadvantage is that crablets being sold are often times a mixture of the desired king crab (Scylla serrata) and other extraneous species that are hard to identify while they are very small.

CRABLET HATCHERIES: Key To Increased Crab Production
The Congress was held at 21 Diversion Hotel in Iloilo City, November 16-18, 2015.

To solve the problem of seasonal availability of crablets for growing, the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center-Aquaculture Department (SEAFDEC-AQD) spearheaded research on various aspects of mud crab production some 20 years ago with funds provided by CGIAR from Australia followed by funding from Europe, SEAFDEC-AQD itself, then Japan and lastly, starting 2012, DOST-PCAARRD.

So far, PCAARRD has provided P82 million for further research and technology dissemination. So far there have been breakthroughs in producing crablets by developing various techniques in brood stock management, hatchery and nursery techniques, nutrition, water management and the like. The current thrust now is to disseminate the technologies to the stakeholders, particularly the crab farmers who do the job of producing the crabs for the table.

CRABLET HATCHERIES: Key To Increased Crab Production
About 200 persons attended the Mud Crab Congress.
CRABLET HATCHERIES: Key To Increased Crab Production
Mario Santos Jr (center) talked about their mud crab hatchery in Lucena City at the mud crab congress.

The major need, of course, is to encourage private entrepreneurs to invest in hatcheries, especially in areas where crabs are cultured that include many places in the Visayas (Panay island, Samar, Bohol, etc.), Luzon like Pampanga, Bulacan, Bataan, Zambales, Pangasinan, Quezon, Bicol provinces and Cagayan.

CRABLET HATCHERIES: Key To Increased Crab Production
EMMA ESTRELLA of Bislig City in Surigao del Sur operates a 34-hectare farm, 25 hectares of which are devoted to polyculture of bangus and mud crab.

Such private hatcheries can be profitable to operate since there is a big market throughout the year. We gathered that there are now several places where hatcheries have been put up.

Among the private collaborators are the father-and-son tandem of Mario Santos Jr and his son Francisco. The started to be cooperators in 2013 after Francisco underwent training at SEAFDEC. The good thing about the Santoses is that they already had experience in operating a bangus hatchery. They used a portion of the bangus hatchery for their mud crab hatchery.

CRABLET HATCHERIES: Key To Increased Crab Production
Francisco Santos, hatchery operator, is consulted by two crab farming enthusiasts.

Francisco confessed that it looks easy to run a hatchery when you read about it. But it is very different when you do the real thing. In their case, for instance, they did not have the broodstock to start with. So they imported it from Panay. The trouble was that because of the long distance travel, 50% of the crabs died, 14% did not lay eggs, some layed eggs but did not hatch. Only 19% layed eggs that hatched. Any way, they were able to produce 18,682 crablets in the first year.

The poor results were due to human errors, according to Francisco. They had only a makeshift hatchery. By the second year, with the help of Dr. Emilia Quinitio of SEAFDEC-AQD, they put up a real mud crab hatchery. The first run was wonderful. Then the disastrous Typhoon Glenda arrived and their beautiful hatchery was blown down. It was only three months later that they were able to resume normal operation.

The year 2015 is a breakthrough year. They now have the experience and know what to do. They have so far produced 60,000 crablets this year for their own growout operations. They have observed that the El Niño has also affected the crabs. Many of the available crabs are not big enough to lay eggs.

Anyway, with their mistakes and successes, the Santoses, we are sure will go a long way in providing the crablets the growers will require.

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6 thoughts on “CRABLET HATCHERIES: Key To Increased Crab Production

  1. Good day where is the nearest mud crab hatchery nursery in calauag quezon and their contact person and number. Thank you

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