World Seafood Congress 2019: Penang researchers investigating feed formulas for mantis shrimp, mud crabs

The Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)’s Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies (CEMACS) is currently holding trials testing new feed compositions for mantis shrimp and mud crabs at its facility on the north-west of Penang island.

WSC attendees were invited to visit the CEMACS site on the northwestern edge of Penang National Park.

The center gained international attention earlier this year for its work on high-quality oyster aquaculture, which it has begun teaching to local fish farmers.

A fisherman need only invest in floating rafts and baskets and find a suitable location in the sea in order to bring in as much as $2,000 per month, said CEMACS director Datuk Aileen Tan, at the time.

Now, the research center is investigating an adjusted feed formula for mantis shrimp, consisting of squid meal, vitamin mix, fish oil, and assorted minerals. Mantis shrimp farmers in Malaysia will typically feed their shrimp diets consisting solely of raw fishmeal, lecturer Abe Woo said.

A large 15cm mantis shrimp can reportedly fetch up to $40 in Australian markets, one Undercurrent News source said.

Mantis shrimp is abundant in the Asia-Pacific region, with the largest growing over 30 cm in length.

The center is also testing a variety of feed on mud crabs. Other ongoing research taking place at the coastal site includes the development of seaweed, sea cucumbers and farmed grouper, a project which wrapped up earlier this year, Woo said.

Further research into oyster culture is also ongoing, as the center develops a growthstock of six different species of phytoplankton to feed its batches of oysters.

CEMACS is ramping up its seaweed research, starting production of two different species earlier this year