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As sea level rises, crab aquaculture could replace coastal rice farming

Mud crab aquaculture in Bangladesh has become a new form of alternative livelihood in the coastal region, and as climate change affects coastal arable land and various entities support the fledgling sector, it could prove a remarkable adaptation strategy for the landless poor.

The Strategic Foresight Group writes,

"In the next decade or so, the number of people engaged in crab aquaculture is set to increase. As sea levels rise, large tracts of land in the coastal regions of the country will become unsuitable for growing rice. Hence, unemployed and landless farmers are more likely to switch to crab fishing. Although shrimp farming is also prevalent, crab fishing is more profitable and requires less investment as compared to shrimp cultivation. Many who practice crab fishing use it as supplementary income at present. However in the future, crab fishing could become the primary occupation for many farmers due to loss of arable land.

In Bangladesh, thousands of poor people, traders and transporters are directly or indirectly dependent on crab fishing. A large percentage of people engaged in crab collecting and fattening are either landless or own very little land."

Implications

The Strategic Foresight Group writes,

"In the coming years, as more hatchery operations for mud crabs come up, there will be an increased demand for skilled and semi-skilled technicians as well as training programs to support the development of this sector. This could have a significant impact on the economic status and livelihoods of poor and landless in the country. In the long term, the absence of organized markets and proliferation of intermediaries in crab trading could hinder poor people from getting an appropriate price for their catch."

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Sources:

The Strategic Foresight Group, July 2011 (pg. 8):
http://newsletters.clearsignals.org/SFG_July_2011.pdf#page=8

Chaki, N. ‘Culture of Mud Crab, Scylla serrata’. Bangladesh Fisheries Information Share Home.
08 February 2011.
http://en.bdfish.org/2011/02/culture-mud-crab-scylla-serrata/

‘Bangladesh farmers fatten crabs on polluted land’. Bajan Sun Online. 20 February 2011.
http://bajansunonline.com/bangladesh-farmers-fatten-crabs-on-polluted-land/

‘Change of life by cultivating crab farming’. Prothom Alo. 02 January 2011.
http://www.prothom-alo.com/detail/date/2010-01-02/news/31953

‘Expansion of Crab Market’. Weekly Sonar Bangla. 06 May 2011.
http://www.weeklysonarbangla.net/news_details.php?newsid=1305

‘In Satkheera beside, prawn cultivation, crab cultivation is going on too’. Bangladesh Itech News.
http://bangladeshitechnews.blogspot.com/2010/11/blog-post_5440.html

‘Improved Crab Fattening Through Cage Culture For Raising Income of Ultra Poor Women’. Satkhira. 04 May 2011.
http://www.dcsatkhira.gov.bd/index.php?option=com_dcnews&controller=dcnews&task=edit&cid%5B%5D=33