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Soft Shell Crab Farming

soft shell crab cultivation


Soft Shell Crab cultivation is a business opportunity that bring good profits. Therefore soft shell crab is getting more and more popular as we can eat all parts of its body.
Eating crab is easier as no need to scrape the hard crab shells to pick up the meat.
The mud crab / mangrove crab (Scylla serrata) has five pairs of legs. the first pair of legs are claws; the others are legs for walking and the last pair is for swimming in the sea.
Successful soft shell crab cultivation depend on few criteria:
1. Pollution Free Land
2. Good Management
3. Superior Juvenile

There are several kinds of mangrove crabs:

  1. Scylla Oceanica: Body color is greenish and has a brown line in almost all parts of his body, except in the stomach.
  2. Scylla Serrata: Body color – greenish to grayish.
  3. Scylla Transquebarica: Body color greenish to blackish. A little brown line on the legs.

Scylla Serrata size is smaller and has higher market demand compare the others two.

Mud Crab Molting Its Shell

Mud Crab Molting Shell

Business Opportunities of Soft Shell Crab Farming

The demand for soft crab is increasing. Especially if our surrounding has the right environmental situation to breed the crabs.
Soft crab cuisine is not so popular in Chinese or Malay restaurants. But getting more and more younger generations like to eat this type of seafood.
In Malaysia, Soft shell crab is available through out Japanese restaurants. They either served with sushi or deed fried.
Some of the Thai restaurants served the soft shell crab with green curry or mix in “Songtam” – mango salad.
It is not easy to breed soft shell crab. We need to learn the techniques of crab cultivation in a proper manner.

Farming Soft Shell Crab Preparation

Below, we will discuss how to cultivate soft shell crab and tips that make it successful.

1. Choose the Right Location

a. A clean, clear and uncontaminated location with a salinity level of 15 to 35 ppt.
b. Water temperature of 24 to 32 degrees Celsius.
c. Dissolve oxygen of 3 ppm and a water pH of 6.5 to 8.5.
Most importantly the farm is located in the vicinity of growing mangrove plants. The environment in terms of temperature and water is most suitable for the growth of mud crab.
Generally pond land used is sandy mud. While the depth of the pond should not be less than 80 cm.
Traditional ponds that used to breed milkfish or shrimp are suitable as well.

2. Prepare the Equipment

Tools needed for the cultivation of soft shell crabs:
a. Thermometer,
b. PH meter
c. Test kits to measure water quality.

3. Juvenile Selection


Juvenile suitable to cultivate into soft shell crab is weight around 0.1 ounces to 0.5 ounces.

4. Create a Cage for Soft shell Crabs

soft shell crab cultivation
a. Cage – form of boxes with the size of 15 cm x 15 cm x 20 cm.
b. Boxes put on top the pond surface.
c. Create a road made of bamboo between the order boxes to assist farmers to observe the soft shell crab when they change the skins.

Techniques on Soft Shell Crab Farming

Breeding soft crab is easy, but it takes special skill and experience to do it.
a. We need to understand the technique of breeding soft crab before practicing it.
b. Cutting is the process of farming the soft shell crab. Cutting the legs and claws of Juvenile crab is to stimulate the crab going into molting stage.
solf shell crab molting
We put the crab Juvenile into the cages after cutting their legs and claws. Then immerse it into the pond.
The process of cutting until harvest will only last for 14 days.
If it is too long then the shell that has entered the softening stage can be harden again.
We use shellfish, trash fish and pellets to feed soft shell crabs. We chopped the shellfish and trash fish into smaller pieces before feeding the crab.

Tips on Caring and Harvest Soft Shell Crab

Successful of crab survival and molting very depend on water circulation. If the water circulation is not good, many crab will dies.
We can spread anti-pest drugs into the water to control the pest from eating the crabs.
During harvest period, we pick up soft shell crabs from the box. We choose one by one and separate the good and reject one, then soak them in fresh water for 30 minutes. After that, we will pack them one by one in plastic bag and frozen it live.
Below is a video on our packing of live soft shell crab.

Success Tips and Marketing Strategies

Always keep the quality of soft crabs, separate between the good quality and the less good in order to make sure consumers are not disappointed when getting less good soft shell crab.
For soft shell crab that quality is less good we can sell at lower price.

Preparation for Cooking: How to Clean Soft Shell Crab

Soft Shell Crab Farming
Article Name
Soft Shell Crab Farming
This article is about soft shell crab farming. I list out technique and tips to farm the soft shell crab.
Publisher Name
Jia Huo Seafood Trading
Publisher Logo

17 thoughts on “Soft Shell Crab Farming

  1. Hi Kelvin, it is a nice and meaningful article which give a general idea about the breeding process of a soft shell mud crab. Do you mind to share 1. At what weight do you start breeding each mud crab (let’s say maybe start breeding at 100g and harvest about 300g?)
    2. Where do you get the source of crab seed?
    3. In average how is the price of the crab seed?

    Hope you hear from you soon 🙂

    1. Dear Heng,

      fyi, i do not farm mud crab but soft shell crab.

      Kelvin Too

      1. Hi Kelvin,

        Oic, I always thought soft shell crab can be any species of crab…

        Anyway, do you mind to share more about how and from where you get the baby soft shell crab? Mind to share me the supplier?


  2. Dear Sir,

    I myself is the supplier of baby crab aka soft shell crab.
    I have my own farm in Indonesia.
    My wife family is in seafood business in sulawesi – Palopo….

  3. Hi Kelvin,
    Can you please share if these soft shell crabs are they freshwater or salt water?
    Also, does indoor vertical farm works for soft shell crabs?
    Thank you.


    1. Dear Lee,

      These soft shell crab are from salt water – brackish water.
      Indoor farm is not easy as the death rate is very high.
      The best is in nature…..

  4. Hi kelvin,
    i am from india .i have my own own farming business in south india @andhra pradesh.please tell about market of soft shell crab.Namaste

    1. Hi Srinivas,

      Market of soft shell crab is big and potential.

  5. Hi Kelvin,

    May I know your soft shell crab is by natural molting or induced molting? Any grazing? What are the sizes?

    1. natural molting.
      Sizes are 5-7 pcs per kg.

  6. Have you ever exported to Asia country ?

    1. yes. i do export to china and hong kong…

    2. yes…

  7. what is crab molting 2019

    1. hi shashi,

      i do not know what u mean on crab molting 2019?

  8. hi sir,

    you can reach me via whatsapp at 019-3201866


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