Mud Crab Farming: Business Plan For Beginners

Mud crab farming is very popular in some Asian countries like Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Philippine etc. Mud crab has huge demand and price in international market.

Crab is very tasty and many countries of the world import huge amount of crabs for consumption every year. As a result, there are huge possibilities of earning foreign currencies by exporting crabs.

Commercial mud crab farming business is gaining popularity faster. It’s very easy to start and highly profitable.

Mud crabs are mainly used for food. It is very popular as food throughout it’s range and also popular in the global market.

That’s why starting commercial mud crab production is profitable. It is sold at high price in the market. And the demand is also very good.

Advantages of Mud Crab Farming

The main benefits of crab farming are, labor cost is very low, production cost is comparatively lower and they grow very fast.

Commercial crab farming business is developing the lifestyle of the people of coastal areas. By proper care and management we can earn more from crab farming business than shrimp farming.

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And small scale crab farming is gaining popularity day by day. Here we are trying to describe the top advantages of starting commercial mud crab farming business.

  • Commercial mud crab farming is not a new business idea. People are raising mud crabs for making profits from a long time ago.
  • Mud crabs can be raised in smaller ponds. So, you can utilize your pond for growing mud crabs.
  • Feeding costs is very less, and the crabs can survive by consuming relatively low quality food.
  • Mud crabs are highly popular around the world. So, you don’t have to worry about marketing your products.
  • You can start either in small scale or in large scale depending on your budget.
  • Commercial crab farming is a very profitable business. So, it can be a great employment source. Especially for the educated unemployed people.
  • You will get your invested mony back soon.
  • You can utilize your family labor for growing and caring mud crabs.

Types of Mud Crabs

Mud crab can be found on estuaries, backwaters and coastal ares. They are member of Scylla genus. There are two species of crabs available that are suitable for commercial production. Two species of crabs are red claw and green mud crab.

Green Mud Crab

  • Green mud crabs are larger in size.
  • A green mud crab can grow to a maximum size of 22 centimeter carapace width. And it can weights about 2 kg.
  • These are free living and distinguished by the polygonal markings present on all appendages.

Red Claw

  • Generally red claws are smaller in size than green mud crab.
  • A red claw can grow to a maximum size of 12.7 centimeter carapace width. And it can weights about 1.2 kg.
  • It has a burrowing habit and there are no polygonal markings on it.

Both species are suitable for commercial crab farming business. And both have good value and huge demand in the foreign market.

How To Start Mud Crab Farming Business?

Starting a commercial mud crab farming business is relatively easy. But it can seem difficult for you if you are a beginner.

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So, we recommend having training first before starting this business. Here we are trying to describe more information about starting and operating this business.

Make An Effective Business Plan

First of all, try to make an effective mud crab farming business plan. A good business plan helps to run a business perfectly. You can ask for help from an expert for making your business plan. Try to include all aspects related to this business (from growing to marketing) in your business plan.

Select Mud Crab Farming Methods

Starting mud crab farming is very easy and simple, even the beginners can start this business. Mud crabs are raised in many different methods depending upon the available facilities in your area.

You can raise mud crabs in two systems. Grow out farming and fattening systems. The systems of mud crab farming in this two methods are shortly described below.

Grow Out System

In grow out farming system, young crabs are raised and grown for a certain period of 5 to 6 months till they reach marketing size and weight. This type of crab farming system is generally pond based.

The pond size depends on the production type. Generally ponds for crab farming sized between 0.5 to 2 hectors. Proper bunds and tidal water exchange is a must. Small sized ponds are very suitable for crab farming.

Because they are easily maintained. Make a suitable fence if the size of pond become small. In larger sized ponds where natural conditions are prevailing, strengthening is necessary along the outlet area.

You can stock wild collected juvenile crabs that weights around 10 to 100 grams. Depending on the size of crabs and available facilities the duration of production may varies between 3 to 6 months.

In commercial production with supplementary feeding you can stock 1-3 crabs per square meter. You can feed your crabs low cost fish, shrimps, small sized crabs etc.

You can visit your nearest local market and collect rotted fish and innards of birds and animals from slaughter house.

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Provide the crabs 5% feed daily of their total body weight. For example, if there are 100 kg crabs in the pond then feed 5 kg food daily.

Collect some crabs and try to determine an average weight. Regular sampling is very necessary for monitoring the growth and general health, and to adjust the feeding rate.

Keep some pipes in the pond for shelter and the purpose of reducing mutual attacks and cannibalism. Within 3 to 5 months they will reach marketing weight and become suitable for selling.

Fattening System

Raising soft shelled crabs for a certain period until their exoskeleton gets hardened is known as crab fattening system. Hard shelled crabs has four to five times more value in the market than soft shelled crabs.

Farming crabs in this system take less time and the process is very profitable. You can do crab fattening business in two systems that are described below.

Fattening in Pond

Fattening can be done in any types of ponds between 0.025 to 0.2 hector size. Small tidal ponds with a depth of 1 to 1.5 meter is very suitable for crab farming.

Prepare the pond perfectly before stocking crabs in the pond. Pond preparation can be done by draining the pond water, sun-drying and adding sufficient quantity of lime.

Make a fence around the pond for fattening purpose. Because the crabs have a tendency to escape by making hole and digging the soil. Reinforce the inlet areas with bamboo matting inside the bund.

For stocking, collect soft crabs from local fisherman or crab merchants. Collect the crabs in morning. 1-2 per squire meter stocking density is ideal for crab fattening purpose.

Divide the pond into different compartments according to the size of crabs if it is big sized. Keeping male and female crabs separated from each other will make good results and reduce mutual attacks and cannibalism.

Depending on your location and crabs availability 8 to 12 fattening cycles can be done in a year. Generally, crabs weight between 300 grams to 500 grams have high demand and value in the market.

Collect and sell all the crabs when they reach the marketing weight. Always try to sell the crabs when they are in hard shelled condition. This will ensure high profit form crab farming business.

Fattening in Pens or Cages

Crab fattening can also be done in pens, floating net cages, bamboo cages in shallow estuarine waterways and inside large shrimp ponds with good tidal water influx and in tanks.

You can use bamboo splits, netlon or HDPE as netting material. 3 m * 2 m *1 m (3 m long, 2 m wide and 1 m height) is ideal cage size for crab fattening.

Arrange the cages in a row so that you can easily feed and monitor the crabs. Stocking density of 10 crabs per squire meter in cage and 5 crabs per squire meter in pens is ideal.

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Maximum stocking density can result mutual attacks and cannibalism. Fattening in cages or pens in only used in small sale production. For commercial production fattening in ponds is perfect and more profitable.

Between these two crab farming methods, fattening system is more profitable than grow out system and has many advantages. Grow out crab farming system takes more time than fattening system. But fattening system is very popular to the farmer as it take less time and highly profitable.

Water Quality

Water quality plays an important role in the production of crabs. Change water occasionally if possible or apply proper medicines or chemicals. See the following chart.

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Feeding

For commercial purpose, crabs need 5-8% food of their body weight. You can feed your crabs low cost trash fish, chicken waste, animal innards collected form slaughter house, brackish water clams etc.

Don’t served all the feed at once. Instead give it twice a day. Give major part of the total feeds during evening hours.

Breeding

The Mud crabs migrate offshore for spawning. They generally become mature when they reach around 9 cm carapace width. In most cases they become mature within their first year of life.

The male crabs generally approach females, before the females have undergone a precopulatory molt. Males start grasping them with their chelipeds and first pair of walking legs and carrying them around for up to several days until the females molt.

Caring & Other Management

Mud crabs are very strong and hardy. They generally require less caring. Although, taking additional care will help the crabs to stay healthy and grow better.

So, always try to take good care of your crabs. Monitor their health on a regular basis, and take necessary steps if you notice anything uncommon.

Harvesting

You can start harvesting when the crabs reach minimum marketing size. Then they are harvested by using traps, trawling, hooking, baited wire mesh pots and also by hand.

Marketing

After a certain period check the crabs for their hardening. In grow out crab farming system they become suitable for marketing purpose within their 3 to 6 months of age. And in fattening system the time depends on crab’s size.

However, collect the crabs when they reach proper weight and when their price remain high. Collect the crabs in the early morning hours or evening hours. You can collect crabs from pond by using scoop net or by using alluring bait. Wash the collected crabs with good brackish water and remove all types of dirt and mud. And then carefully tie the crabs very carefully without breaking its legs. Then try to keep those crabs in moist conditions.

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Keep them away from sunlight. Because direct sunlight has a negative effect on their survival. After that send them to the market. Commercial crab farming business is gaining popularity day by day in many coastal areas around the world. Because it is a very easy, profitable and takes less time.

Mud crabs have huge demand and high value in international market. So, you can earn some extra money and make an employment opportunity by doing commercial crab farming business.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Mud crabs are highly popular in both domestic and international market. And popularity of commercial mud crab farming business is increasing gradually. That’s why many people are trying to learn more about this business. Especially, the beginners ask us many questions about starting and operating a profitable mud crab farming business. However, here we are trying to list the most common questions and trying to answer them. Hope you will find your answer. Don’t hesitate to ask us if you have more questions.

How to start mud crab farming business?

Starting a commercial mud crab farming is relatively easy. You can start this business if you have some knowledge in growing mud crabs. Make an effective business plan, have your site ready, purchase baby crabs, feed them nutritious food and take good care of them.

Is crab farming a profitable business?

YES, sure! Mud crab farming is a highly profitable business if you can do everything perfectly.

How long does it take to grow crab?

Baby crabs generally become ready for harvesting 6-7 months after stocking in the farm.

How do you make a crab farm?

Make an effective business plan, have your site ready, purchase baby crabs, feed them nutritious food and take good care of them.

Are crabs profitable?

YES, sure! Mud crab farming is a highly profitable business if you can do everything perfectly.

Can you raise crabs at home?

YES! But learn more about crab farming practically before starting this business.

Can you farm raise crabs?

YES, sure! Actually raising crabs in farm is a lucrative business.

How fast do crabs reproduce?

A female blue crab can mate for just one short period in her life, during a few days after she molts to maturity.

What is the lifespan of a crab?

Average lifespan of a crab is between 3 to 5 years. Some species of crab can live up to 30 years.

Can mud crab survive in fresh water?

YES! Actually mud crabs can tolerate and survive in a wide range of salinity. And they are able to survive in freshwater for a few hours or even days.

Can you farm blue crabs at home?

YES! It’s possible to raise the blue crabs at home.

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Can blue crabs survive in freshwater?

YES, blue crabs can survive in both freshwater and saltwater, as well as brackish water.

What do you feed mud crabs?

Mud crabs are omnivores. So, they can be fed on a wide variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables, seaweed, raw fish etc. But in commercial mud crab farming business, most of the farmers used to feed them with low cost raw fish.

How long do crab eggs take to hatch?

The crab eggs generally take 6-10 days to hatch.

How old are crabs when harvested?

In commercial mud crab farming business, the crabs are generally harvested 6-7 months after stocking the baby crabs.

How long can crabs go without eating?

They do eat a lot, but very little and can go several days up to two weeks without food.

How long can crabs live out of water?

Crabs can live out of water for several days.

Do mud crabs need salt water?

Mud crabs prefer sheltered waters such as estuaries and mangrove areas. They are highly tolerant of variations in water salinity and temperature.

How long can you keep a mud crab alive?

Crabs can live for several days if kept moist. They can breathe well only if their gills are moist. And they will die, once the gills dry out.

Where to contact for crab farming training?

Please contact your local or nearest aquaculture institute for training.

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