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November 6, 2009

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Huangpu crabs may claw to a comeback

ALTHOUGH both the king and queen of the hairy crab world came from Jiangxi Province, made-in-Shanghai crustaceans showcasing the "flavor of the Huangpu River" also made a strong showing in their debut yesterday at a national contest.

More than 400 hairy crabs from across the country were presented in Shanghai yesterday at the third Fengshou Cup, a sort of Olympics for the domestic crab industry. The entrants came from 21 domestic aquatic companies.

"This was the first time for pond crabs to compete with lake crabs," said Wang Wu, a professor at Shanghai Ocean University and the contest's founder.

The southeast reaches of Shanghai's Huangpu River in the Songjiang area used to teem with crabs, but they were wiped out in the 1980s by the construction of sluice gates and an increase in water pollution.

In an attempt to restore the species, the Yuyue fishery company started to raise crabs in a pond using clean, modern methods in Songjiang District in 2007.

The company's crab pond covers around 200 acres. Each acre produces about 130 to 150 crabs, and each crab sells for 80 yuan (US$12).

"I admire their courage greatly, and the quality is also very good," Wang said.

The Huangpu crab even managed to get into the finals, which means it was roughly in the top 200.

The top king crab, from Junshan Lake in Jiangxi, weighed 611.3 grams, more than three times the size of a normal male hairy crab. The queen weighed in at 473.6 grams. Crabs sold at local markets usually weigh only 150 to 200 grams.


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