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150,000 baby crabs released into ocean in Penghu
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Taipei, May 3 (CNA) The government-run Fisheries Research Institute (FRI) released 150,000 baby crabs of the species portunus pelagicus, more popularly called the flower crab or sand crab in Taiwan, into the ocean in waters off Magong City, Penghu on Wednesday, as part of an ongoing effort to promote the sustainable use of marine resources.

The baby crabs, each about 1-2 cm in size, were bred by the institute, said FRI Director Lin Chin-jung.

With its nutritious sweet meat, the sand crab is considered a delicacy in Taiwan, Lin said. In local markets, the crab sells for up to NT$700 (US$23.3) per kilogram. As such, the baby crabs will generate revenue of up to NT$5 million in the future, Lin estimated.

According to the FRI, the sea surrounding Penghu, an archipelago situated off the west coast of Chiayi County, is perfect for the release of crabs because of the vast intertidal zones off the coast.

The baby crabs released on Wednesday will grow to maturity in about eight months, the institute said. It urged local fishermen to refrain from catching crabs with a carapace smaller than 8 cm in width to promote sustainable fishing.

Male portunus pelagicus crabs are bright blue in color with white spots and characteristically long chelipeds, while females have a duller green/brown color and a more rounded carapace that can be up to 20 cm wide.