Processed crab is one of the popular culinary, widely available in various places to eat sea food, with a relatively high price. Culinary oyster sauce crab, crab in Padang sauce, butter fried crab or crispy crab are some of the many popular crab dishes, no doubt this also requires fresh crab raw materials which must be supplied to the market every day. Not to mention the export story, according to data from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in 2021, crabs – together with small crabs, are one of Indonesia’s main fishery export commodities. Over the last five years, the demand for crabs has increased by 5 percent per year. In 2020, the demand for world crabs reaches USD 5.4 billion and Indonesia’s exports of this commodity have only reached 6.8 percent or worth USD 367.5 million. This shows that the commodity market is still open and has the potential to continue to be developed, especially for the aquaculture sector which is also the focus of government attention through the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. So what are the opportunities for business people?
Of course, there are also great opportunities for people who want to open a crab cultivation business, just adjust to the ability to provide capital as well as facilities and infrastructure, especially land for cultivation. Well, the story of land, so far people have focused on coastal areas with pond areas for cultivation. In fact, speaking of fisheries development, it is not only in coastal areas or islands anymore, but also in rural to urban areas. So far, the trend of urban agriculture has been echoed, for that, not only farming, fishing in urban areas has also started to become a trend for urban communities, including crab cultivation. Likewise with agriculture, the trend of fisheries in cities is increasing along with the growing awareness of urban communities towards the need for quality food, in addition to being supported by the development of various technologies or cultivation methods on limited land that can be applied in urban areas. The concept of urban fisheries is simply to move conventional fisheries to urban areas, which utilizes limited land with or space to produce fishery products and is supported by technological innovation. Examples that have been done recently are the concept of fish farming in tarpaulin ponds, aquaponics and bioflocs. Then what about the mangrove crabs whose habitat is in salty/brackish water? The current trend for hobbyists or entrepreneurs is to develop a vertical crab house system or what is popularly called a crab apartment. Crab apartments have begun to be widely developed in cities, with the use of technology to manage water and placed in limited spaces but with high population levels. The crabs are kept in box-shaped containers, which simply use jerry cans, arranged in layers with the flow of water, and each crab is placed in a separate container or one per box so that it looks like an apartment house. The advantages of this system, apart from not requiring large land and large capital for the procurement of ponds, can also be carried out more intensively, and are easy to monitor. With the apartment system, it means that one of the biggest factors causing conventional system failure, namely natural factors in the form of floods, broken ponds, waste water and so on, has been avoided. The biggest factors causing other failures are cannibalism and crab failure to moult (change shells). Yes, crabs are cannibals. In natural ponds, it is difficult to prevent crabs from preying on each other, especially when the crabs are moulting because that is their weakest time when all parts of their bodies become soft so they are easily eaten by their friends. With a solitaire apartment system (placed separately), one factor causing failure is also eliminated. We just have to pay attention to the factors of water and feed management, so that if it can be done well then success and profits are right in front of our eyes. Eko Hendra, from the Real Consecrated Forest Farmers Group in Percut Sei Tuan, Deli Serdang Regency, has started this apartment system crab cultivation business. “Starting with the trial, only 12 boxes or 12 birds were placed in the house, after two months we felt the results were positive. Most importantly the mortality rate was low, as of yesterday the death was only around 10 percent,” said Eko, who claimed to be self-taught just by watching tutorials. on Youtube videos. The number of deaths of that size is still considered very reasonable, compared to a number of methods they have used, starting with making natural ponds and using bamboo box cages, the failure rate is much higher. From there, Eko and his friends in his group decided to develop this apartment system. “Currently we are building a crab house with a capacity of 120 individuals, next time it may be added gradually,” he said.