At present, there is only one registered exporter in this region - Albari International, reports TimesofIndia.
Its proprietor Zaheer Ahmed told TimesofIndia: "The potential is huge but nobody is interested in crab aquaculture in these parts. Just as shrimp, crab fattening also is a risky business. You can lose all your investment at one go or reap huge profits. Even when I buy, I lose 15 per cent due to mortality."
There are two basic forms of land-based mud crab culture practices - fattening of crabs with low flesh content/ water crabs and grow-out of juveniles to market size.
Mr Ahmed exports about 500 kg of live crabs mainly to the Shanghai market. The export potential areas are Shanghai, Malaysia and Hong Kong, says an official from the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), a nodal agency set up by the government of India in 1972 for the promotion of seafood exports from India.
The official said that according to invoices, the rates vary for live crabs depending on the size. Live mud crabs of 100gm to 300 gm will earn $5 to $7 and those weighing more than 400 gm earn $11.
In India, live crabs retail at Rs 300 to Rs 350 in Bangalore and Delhi. The main crab procurement areas are Kumta, Ankola, Karwar, Kundapur and Mangalore in the state. During the peak season from June to September, the catch can go up to one tonne to two tonnes per day and it dwindles thereafter, says the newspaper.
Both MPEDA official and Mr Ahmed say that research institutes and the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) should create awareness among farmers to exploit the potential of crab farming in this region.