Khulna: A modern crab hatchery, built by the Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute (BFRI) in Paikgachha upazila of the district, will go into operation soon, opening up a new door of prospect for flourishing the crab industry.
BFRI has set up the hatchery spending Tk 1.18 crore at its Saltwater Centre as a part of crab farming and research project (Component - B, BFRI), aiming to produce crab fry.
Among the exportable fish resources, crab stands second after shrimp. A total of four species of sweet water crabs and another 12 species of saltwater crabs are now exported to many Asian countries, including Malaysia and Singapore, and European markets, officials said.
Bangladesh exported crabs worth $23.82 million in 2015-16, which was $7.2 million in 2010-11, according to the Export Promotion Bureau.
Crab farming has been on the rise in the southern coastal districts, including Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira due to its high demand in the global market.
The farming and fattening of crabs in coastal areas started in the 80s. But, 100 percent of crabs are now collected from natural sources which may affect the biodiversity, said fisheries officials.
The hatchery has been set up so that farmers can get crab fry and boost farming for export as its local demand is low, they said.
BFRI has already developed techniques of producing crab fry artificially.
Project director of Kuchia crab farming and research Dr Durin Aktar Jahan said,"BFRI has already invented the way of producing crab fry. The availability of fry will boost crab farming and reduce dependence on natural sources."
Chief scientific officer of Paikgachha Saltwater Center Dr Md Latifur Islam said BFRI managing director Dr Yahia Mahmud, project director Dr Durin Aktar Jahan and top officials visited the hatchery.
Fisheries and Livestock Minister Narayan Chandra Chanda is expected to inaugurate the hatchery soon, he said.
Crab hatchery brings new prospect in coastal region