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Mud Crabs Growing Attraction At HOTEC 2014

Mud Crabs Growing Attraction At HOTEC 2014
Crab Company of Fiji Manaing Director, Wilco Liebregts during the HOTEC event at Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa in Denarau Nadi, yesterday. Photo: Varanisese Nasilasila
October 30
12:59 2014

There’s money in crabs. The opening of Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association’s big HOTEC trade show at Sofitel Fiji Resort on Denarau saw this yesterday.

The Crab Company of Fiji – already a presence in the local hospitality market – explained how it is well on its way for further expansion.

The company is one of the exhibitors creating interest at the three-day HOTEC, which also includes the association’s Moffat Salon Culinaire competition.

Managing director Wilco Liebregts said there has been demand for Fijian mud crabs in Australia, New Zealand, Nauru, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, and the United States of America.

The company is growing mud crabs on its 90-hectare property at Navua. And, the expansion already underway is not just expansion of the farm.

The company has established a board which has Bernadette Rounds-Ganilau, Howard Politini, crab specialist Colin Shelley and Mr Liebregts.

“The board has been appointed as part of our expansion process,” Mr Liebregts said.

Plan for expansion early next year includes exporting.

He said: “Even in Fiji, most chefs we spoke to said they would have crab on their menu if the supply was consistent and this is something we have been able to achieve. We changed the market and several resorts now have mud crabs as a fixed item on their menu.

“We supply about 1000 kilos per month and this is nothing. The demand is a lot more bigger and we have a problem because we are not supplying enough.

“We have a very rudimentary farm, we have a hatchery where every time we have a successful hatching of 4 million critters, we can only use 600,000 and the rest we have to let go in the ocean.

“We are now very actively looking for expansion, with larger pool sides and other investors. And, with hatchery, we intend to have not only crabs but also prawns.

“We have demonstrated that crab farming can be done in Fiji, there is very good market and it is very profitable for community group farmers, even the iQoliqoli.”

 

The Crab Company

Mr Liebregts said the story behind their mud crabs started because they believe that conservation of the environment and its sustainable development go hand-in-hand.

Aiming to reduce the pressure on wild crab stocks, the Crab Company of Fiji set up its hatchery in 2011 to breed young crabs.

“We source our brood-stock large female crabs from the wild, which we treat like queens by giving them the best food,” he said.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 

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