Fisheries Development Corp to take up crab culture in cages to boost production
Kolkata: In a stride towards increasing the production of crabs, particularly of the export variety, the state Fisheries Development Corporation (SFDC) will soon take up crab culture in cages.
A pilot project will begin in Henry's Island near Bakkhali in South 24-Parganas, following which the SFDC will replicate the same in Sunderbans, where catching crabs is one of the major livelihoods of the people.
"People from countries like China, Malaysia and Singapore are simply crazy about crabs and a bulk of their demand is met by Indian states, including Bengal, which have coastlines. However, crab exports from most other coastline states are much higher in volume than Bengal. We are taking measures to increase the production of crabs and boost export, because of its high value," a senior official of SFDC said.
SFDC is presently at an advanced stage of talks with the Central Institute of Brackish water Aquaculture (CIBA) in Tamil Nadu, from where it will procure seeds for crab culture. 200 cages- for both the large variety and small variety of crabs, are also being brought for the purpose of culture. "Crabs that are found in sweet water are not fit for consumption and the ones we eat are wild crabs that are available in Sunderbans and in bheris which are connected with rivers," said B K Mondal, general manager (technical), SFDC.
It may be mentioned that a village in Gosaba in Sunderbans is popularly known as widow's village (Bidhaba Gram), as a large number of women at the place had lost their husbands to tiger attacks, when the latter had ventured into the deep forest for catching crabs, or for collecting honey.
As per estimates of researchers, every year 50 fishermen or honey collectors are killed in tiger attacks. "If we can take up cage culture of crabs, it will not only enhance their livelihood, but will also stop people from venturing deep into the forests for catching crabs," a senior SFDC official said.
It may be mentioned that the state Forest department is also taking up a project to encourage the villagers to take up apiculture in their native villages, to stop them from venturing into deep forest and thus preventing deaths by tiger attacks.