Aquaculture for all

BFAR urges fish farmers on mudcrab culture

PHILIPPINES - Experts from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) are encouraging fishfarmers in the coastal areas of Cagayan province try mudcrab culure.

The enteprisie offers huge potential - the delicacy has a high-end market as a seafood served for special occasions.

Elpidio Palattao, BFAR senior aquaculturist said mudcrab, locally known as "Arasa" or "Alimango" is indigenous in the region, which makes it easy for fish farmers to adopt it as an aquaculture species.

"Some coastal areas of Cagayan are known sources of crablings, we even export this to other provinces, however, mudcrab culture is presently concentrated only at the municipality of Buguey, we might as well take advantage of its natural occurrence," Palattao said in a recent presentation during the Technology Roadshow held at CSU campus in Aparri, Cagayan.

He said mudcrab can be cultured either in brackishwater fishponds or at mangrove areas through an environment-friendly technology known as 'Aquasilvi' or mangrove aquaculture.

Mangrove aquaculture involves the utilization of water salinity ranging from 15 to 32 parts per thousand (ppt) with pond depth of at least 50 to 60 centimeters. A matting, made of bamboo slats, should be embedded and installed around the inner pond dike at a steep inclination to avoid escape of stocks. Earth mounds or wood stumps 30 centimeters above the water level should also be installed at 10% of the pond area to serve as refuge in times of low oxygen level.

After preparing this requirement, crablings which are 20 to 50 grammers, can be stocked.

Palattao said that crablings are available at the municipalities of Pamplona, Abulug, Aparri and Buguey in Cagayan at P8/pc. Crablings abound year-round.

Stocking density is one piece per square meter. The crablings feed on trash fish, cooked animal hide and entrails, mussels and snails. Feeding rate is 10% of the average body weight reduced by 2% monthly down to a minimum of 4% at the fourth month.

Regular stock sampling, pond maintenance and water exchange should be undertaken. After four months, the stocks can be harvested, Palattao said.

In the cost analysis presented, income per cropping is 20 thousand pesos while production cost is 38 thousand pesos. This is for a production of 422 kilos from 2,000 pieces crablings cultured.

Palattao said that mudcrab can also be polycultured with other species such as tilapia and milkfish.

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