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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Fisheries institute's effort to boost crab population

The Fisheries College and Research Institute (FCRI) here has sea ranched 8 lakh larvae of `Scylla serrata', a species of mud crab, into the Gulf of Mannar (GoM) at Kaswari Island near Tuticorin on 17th March.

It was done under a project sponsored by the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, which was aimed at enhancing the mud crab population in the Mannar.

V.K. Venkataramani, Dean, FCRI, told The Hindu that the larvae of Scylla serrata were reared at the Marine Biological Laboratory of the FCRI.

"A mother crab weighing 910 gram and a male crab weighing 1.1 kilogram were bred in a fibre-reinforced plastic tank of 1,000 litre capacity and the larvae produced were grown to a length of 0.4 mm under the laboratory condition, before it was sea ranched," he said.

According to him, sea ranching is the most effective solution to augment the stock of mud crab resources in the GoM, which was fast depleting in the last few years owing to various reasons.

He said that at present, the export of marine crab products fetch foreign exchange to the tune of Rs.57.5 crore to the national exchequer

"To protect the mud crab population, use of traps should be restricted in the region particularly in the peak spawning season starting from March to July every year," Dr Venkataramani said.

Besides, the fishermen should be educated to return the live berried females, caught in the net, into the sea, to sustain the crab resources.

Source: The Hindu

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