27 Jan 2009

Growing Prawns in Kuala Lumpur

Dear Blue Lobster:

I accidentally came across your blog while searching for material on crayfish.

I really hope you can take the time to answer my mail, as I am really interested in raring prawn/ crustaceans (particularly crayfish) in Malaysia.

This would be a really novice question, would the American Crayfish be reared in a tropical climate ?

Kuala Lumpur has a hot, tropical climate with heavy rain storms occurring throughout the year, mostly in the early evenings. Day time temperatures can reach around 95°F (35°C).

What would be the best import species to be reared here ?

I have a piece of land, roughly 20 acres with a running stream in it, I am now really thinking hard to rear something in it.

What would your advise be if i wanted something crustaceans ?

Thank you in advance for your time,


Dear Gentle Sir:

Selamat pagi!

Since crayfish are ectothermic, or "cold-blooded," their climate does matter. Too hot of a climate for a crayfish can cause metabolic, nervous, and respiratory complications, putting a profitable harvest in jeopardy.

The name "American Crayfish" is problematic because it does not specify a species, but assuming that it is from a hot-humid region, where it's 20  for 3,000 or more hours annually and 23  for 1,500 hours annually, the cray ought to thrive.

This includes Orconectes rusticus, which is, of course, considered an Invasive Species Class 1, which means it is under the tightest control from environmental authorities due to its proclivity to disrupt native species.

Likewise, the Marmorkrebs clones itself so readily that, even though a tropical climate would be unideal for it, it would represent a very real and urgent danger to your area.

Check with your local authorities for their regulations regarding what species are legal to grow where you live. Optimally, they will have a list of known safe species and perhaps supplier contacts as well. You should be able to request an official decision on other species should you so desire.

Also be aware that, despite superficial similarities and local jargon, crayfish and prawns are not the same type of animal. A "prawn" is a lay term for freshwater shrimp of various classifications while "shrimp" seems reserved for marine species.

When considering and purchasing species for aquaculture, always demand binomial nomenclature and research its veracity. In unregulated markets, the switch-and-bait sale (no pun intended, of course) is dangerously common.

Too many times has an honest aquaculturalist been taken by a deceptive fishmonger and later found his harvest of crustaceans to be all shell and shank, or the small wiggly larvae he purchased to create nothing but clouds of mosquitos. Do not share such an outcome with less educated entrepreneurs!

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