30 Julai 2008

Aquaculture: Captive breeding key to mudcrab crop

A Territory business has produced what is thought to be Australia's first commercial aquaculture harvest of mud crabs. The first 3 tonne batch of crabs are ready to sell, but farm owner Seow Hung Yong is waiting a few weeks to get the best price.Mr Yong and his family have invested more than $1 million in the Australia Aquaculture Farming NT venture, renovating a former prawn farm site near Channel Island, south of Darwin.Mr Yong came to the NT from Singapore three years ago and studied aquaculture at Charles Darwin University before starting the 10-pond farm last December.The businessman said he could not have succeeded without the help of the Darwin Aquaculture Centre (DAC).The DAC - a research arm of the Department of Primary Industries, Fisheries and Mines - pioneered a captive breeding program for baby mud crabs.The DAC supplies baby crabs to the farm, providing 70,000 in the last six months."They are working very hard, they come every week to do research. If we have any problem, they help," he said.The first batch of crabs arrived at the farm in April.They were fed on prawn pellets until they reached about 500g in weight.They will now be caught in crab pots and flown live to restaurants and wholesalers in Sydney and Melbourne."We are still researching an easier way to get the crabs out of the ponds," Mr Yong said.Mr Yong treated NT Fisheries Minister Chris Natt to steamed cold crab when he unveiled the first harvest on Friday."At the moment it's the most popular recipe in Singapore," Mr Yong said."You steam it, put it in the fridge and eat it cold."

Published 10/25/2007

Source: Northern Territory News

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