New Experiment Raises Possibility of Fresh N.C. Soft-Shell Crabs Year-Round

— Written By Kaija Beesley

Originally posted by Jeff Hampton for The Virginia Pilot

An experiment to farm soft-shell crabs in North Carolina ponds could augment declining wild stocks and lead to having plenty of the delicacy fresh almost year round.

Scientists from North Carolina and Mississippi will work together in a three-year venture to raise blue crabs and harvest them for the lucrative soft-shell market.

Fresh soft crabs flood the market typically in May and June, at the height of molting season.

A $339,239 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will fund the project, managed by Sea Grant programs in both states. The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Lab will lead the effort and lend expertise.

“Our goal is to learn more about this technology and bring it to North Carolina,” Chuck Weirich, North Carolina Sea Grant marine aquaculture specialist. “This could take the pressure off the wild crabs.”

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Learn more about the  Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Lab and this Project.