Singapore crabs for chilli crab? New research project looks at locally farmed crab

Singapore already has 'SG Fish' or locally farmed fish that Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan championed in January last month. If a research project goes smoothly, 'SG Crab' might become a reality as well.

Researchers at Temasek Polytechnic (TP) have started a two-year project to improve the survival rate of young mud crabs, whose adults go into what many consider to be Singapore's national dish - chilli crab.

Their aim: To make their survival rate sustainable enough that they could be farmed here to supply local seafood restaurants. The research will focus on optimising conditions for mud crab larvae survival, by removing nitrates - a product of their waste that accumulates in the water.

They intend to do this by introducing phytoplankton, or single-celled plants, into the water which absorb the nitrates as nutrients. Without phytoplankton to maintain water quality, the water would have to be regularly changed.

TP aims to have this water recirculation system developed by early 2015. This might then pave the way for interested farmers to successfully farm mud crabs in our waters, said the manager for aquaculture research at TP's School of Applied Science Wee Kok Leong.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.