Some aquaculture farmers in Miaoli County, facing declining prices in the mitten crab market, and competition in the Thai shrimp market, are switching to raising Australian red claw crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus).
Media reports today, including this Apple Daily story quoted a crayfish farmer, Mr Peng, who said that the meat of the Australian crayfish is superior to Thai shrimp in taste and texture. The crayfish don’t have a fishy taste and can be boiled, stir-fried, or used as an ingredient for soups.
Mr Peng also said the red claw is favored by anglers because their pull is stronger than that of the Thai shrimp. Thai shrimp are used in recreational indoor fishing ponds that are popular in Taiwan.
When some fishing ponds began advertising that they stocked Australian crayfish in 2013, fisheries officials called for a ban on the species, noting that they were aggressive and prolific breeders, and that the species had already been found in a lake in Yangmingshan National Park, and another in Kaohsiung.
Pingtung County farmers countered that they already had an established redclaw industry and that if a ban were put in place, they would have to be compensated.
Farmers in Miaoli County began raising redclaw last year and there are currently 5 ponds stocking the crayfish.
The Australian red claw crayfish is native to tropical north and northeastern Australia. In optimal conditions the crayfish can be harvested six to 12 months after hatching.