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November 5, 2012

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Hairy crabs' size smaller this year

DINERS may find hairy crabs, the seasonal delicacy favored by locals, smaller this year due to the poor weather conditions in spring and summer, experts said at the annual "crab king" contest yesterday.

Hairy crabs in farm ponds across the nation are about 20 percent smaller in size than in previous years, the traders said.

"Crabs enjoy temperatures between 25 to 28 Celsius degrees," said Cheng Yongxu, a professor at Shanghai Ocean University's College of Fisheries and Life Science.

"A cold April and the scorching weather in summer hampered the robust growth of hairy crabs."

For the first time hairy crabs from Taiwan joined their crustacean counterparts raised across the mainland in the contest after Shanghai exported 337,000 crab seeds and provided technological support to the island earlier this year. The two sides signed an agreement to jointly breed another 1 million crabs in Taiwan next year.

"We have little experience in raising crabs," said Wu Yude, director of Taiwan Miaoli County's Hairy Crabs Breeding Development Association. "The breeding of fish and shrimps is very mature in Taiwan, but it is not the case for crabs."

Though Taiwan people enjoy crab, it's hard to raise the creatures in such a warm place, Wu added.

On Chongming Island, the local university bred the crab seeds especially made for Taiwan and sent five batches of experts to Miaoli to help farmers raise crabs.

The crabs imported from Shanghai grew much bigger this year, with a survival rate of more than 30 percent, compared with 10 percent in the past, Wu said.

The crabs are now available in the Taiwan market. The university and Miaoli County yesterday signed a cooperation agreement to deepen the cooperation next year.

Nearly 1,000 hairy crabs from across the country were presented at the sixth hairy crab contest, a sort of Olympics for the domestic crab industry. The crab king, from Anhui Province, weighed 617.4 grams - setting a record. The queen, from Jiangxi Province, weighed in at 415.4 grams.

Crabs on the markets usually weigh between 150 and 200 grams.


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