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September 17, 2010

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Best hairy crabs in China now on sale

HAIRY crabs from Yangcheng Lake, an area renowned for raising the best crabs in China, are now available in Shanghai - but only in authorized supermarkets and franchise stores, Suzhou Yangcheng Lake Hairy Crab Association officials said yesterday.

Any hairy crabs claimed to be from Yangcheng Lake sold in local wet markets are not genuine, officials said.

Prices are expected to be 10 to 20 percent higher compared to 2009 due to increased costs, Yang Weilong, director of the association, said.

The price will be around 250 yuan (US$37) per kilogram for male crabs weighing 200 grams and female crabs weighing 150 grams, he said.

Crab quality this year is better than breeders had expected. Breeders sampled 20 male crabs at random yesterday and the average weight was 207 grams. The average weight of 20 sampled female crabs was 156 grams. The weight was almost the same as that of last year.

Breeders had expected hairy crabs would be smaller because of the weather.

March and April were colder than usual so the crabs ate less while the hot summer caused crabs to shell later, said Lin Zhong'an, manager of Suzhou Xinyang Agricultural Technology Co Ltd.

"The harvest of the first day is better than I had expected," Lin said. "We have achieved a good presale so far. Big crabs sold better than last year."

An estimated 2,000 tons of hairy crabs will be produced from Yangcheng Lake this year and at least 350 tons will come to Shanghai.

"Crabs served to Shanghai this year may increase because of World Expo. Besides, more people, including Expo visitors, are expected to go to Yangcheng Lake to taste the crab," Yang said.

Yang repeated assurances that contraceptive drugs were not being fed to crabs to speed their growth. The claim had gained wide currency online.


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