By Dhel Nazario
To increase hatchery-reared mud crabs in the Philippines, which is the second top producer in the world, a project was funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) in Aklan, Zamboanga, and Davao Del Norte.
The project, “Promotion of Mud Crab Hatchery and Nursery Technologies in Selected Sites,” is implemented by the Aquaculture Department, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC/AQD) and is part of the National Mud Crab Science and Technology Program.
The project promotes mud crab hatchery and nursery technologies in Aklan State University (ASU), Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology (ZSCMST), and the Tagum local government unit (LGU) in Davao del Norte.
ASU, ZSCMST, and Tagum LGU have existing hatchery facilities, laboratories, or pond facilities. A memorandum of agreement (MOA) to adopt the mud crab hatchery operation was signed between SEAFDEC/AQD and the three entities mentioned.
Under the agreement, ASU, ZSCMST, and Tagum LGU underwent training courses on mud crab hatchery and nursery operations. The training courses tackled mud crab hatchery, nursery, and grow-out operations. The three collaborators also underwent practical sessions on natural food culture, broodstock management, larval rearing from zoea to megalopae, nursery rearing, and other activities involved in the hatchery, nursery, and grow-out operations.
The crab juveniles produced from the nursery phase were stocked in the nearby grow-out ponds for culture to market size. Some of the market size females produced were used as broodstock for the hatchery.
A new multi-species hatchery for mud crab culture was constructed in the Tagum LGU. Technical assistance for one run was provided by a SEAFDEC/AQD technician. Both S. serrata and S. olivacea are being used for seed production, wherein the crablets of the latter are intended to be used in the soft-shell crab farm. The soft-shell crab farm was also set up in Tagum.
Once the project is concluded, SEAFDEC/AQD will continue to provide assistance to the three collaborators.