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Holzer Crab Aquaculture  RSS feed

 
                                    
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I have been interested in permaculture for over a year, however, I only heard about sepp holzer a few months ago. One personal dilemma I can envision with transitioning to a sustainable lifestyle is acquiring meat. Although I love the flavor of meat (mammal, bird, fish, etc.), I don’t think I could bring myself to murder a mammal or bird just for a few meals. I might be more inclined to kill a fish only because I’ve gutted one before but I would still feel bad. That is one reason I am particularly excited about shellfish culture. I LOVE shellfish, the flavor is amazing and I think I could live with killing bugs (plus at least they can defend themselves!) for food.

When I heard sepp holzer farms crab I couldn’t believe that wasn’t a center piece of the film. Since then I have been doing a lot of research on crab aquaculture and it appears that most crabs require brackish water for a portion of their lifecycle. I am curious how Mr. Holzer deals with issues like this in his ponds. So I sent an email to his site asking only a few simple questions like: What species of crabs do you farm? Are they raised in freshwater their whole lives? Or is salt added? Will this be addressed in the new book?

Of course I got the most lifeless response from Elizabeth Mohr (their secretary?) stating they couldn’t answer inquires but that I could learn about permaculture from his new book. Oh really? You mean the new book I just asked you about? Well, I was planning to get the book no matter what her response but she could have at least acknowledged what I was asking. Since I don’t think I was put on a “questions-waiting list” I decided to join these forums.

So I guess my question is to Mr. Paul Wheaton or anyone who has intimate knowledge of the Krameterhof: What have you learnt about Mr. Holzer’s crab aquaculture techniques?

Thanks,
CSR

PS: This is my first post so "Hello All!"
 
Mekka Pakanohida
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carl_sagan_returns wrote:
I have been interested in permaculture for over a year, however, I only heard about Sepp Holzer a few months ago. One personal dilemma I can envision with transitioning to a sustainable lifestyle is acquiring meat. Although I love the flavor of meat (animal, fish, etc.), I don’t think I could bring myself to murder an animal just for a few meals. I might be more inclined to kill a fish only because I’ve gutted one before but I would still feel bad. That is one reason I am particularly excited about shellfish culture. I LOVE shellfish, the flavor is amazing and I think I could live with killing bugs (plus at least they can defend themselves!) for food.

When I heard Sepp Holzer farms crab I couldn’t believe that wasn’t a center piece of the film. Since then I have been doing a lot of research on crab aquaculture and it appears that most crabs require brackish water for a portion of their lifecycle. I am curious how Mr. Holzer deals with issues like this in his ponds. So I sent an email to his site asking only a few simple questions like: What species of crabs do you farm? Are they raised in freshwater their whole lives? Or is salt added? Will this be addressed in the new book?

Of course I got the most lifeless response from Elizabeth Mohr (their secretary?) stating they couldn’t answer inquires but that I could learn about permaculture from his new book. Oh really? You mean the new book I just asked you about? Well, I was planning to get the book no matter what her response but she could have at least acknowledged what I was asking. Since I don’t think I was put on a “questions-waiting list” I decided to join these forums.

So I guess my question is to Mr. Paul Wheaton or anyone who has intimate knowledge of the Krameterhof: What have you learnt about Mr. Holzer’s crab aquaculture techniques?

Thanks,
CSR


Crabs also require plaktonic develpment, it would be very interesting to hear what Paul and anyone who has visited the Kramerterhof has to say.
 
                                    
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By "Planktonic Development" are you referring to the larval stages of the crab lifecycle? I believe the two major molting steps post-fertilization are Zoea followed by Megalopa before developing into a juvenile crab. In these early stages they resemble shrimp more than crabs (especially the Zoeae). Regardless of lifecycle stage, I can see two issues arising from using salt in a sustainable outdoor pond:

1) How do you get the salt? Unless you are sitting on a mine you will have to buy salt to fill the pond or wherever you hatch them (if that is the only time you need salt water).

2) Might adding salt have a negative impact on wildlife surrounding the pond? Would you just cultivate plants that like salt or would the amount needed have detrimental effects over time (i.e. salt buildup)?

On a side note, freshwater crustaceans like the giant river prawn might be a nice alternative. However, I have read from FAO literature that these can be aggressive and form hierarchies based on life stage. Therefore, there is a limit to how many you can fit in a given area because they will kill each other.  I also just learned about some Australian varieties of freshwater crayfish: the Redclaw, Yabble and Marron. Check it out http://aquanic.org/publicat/usda_rac/efs/srac/244fs.pdf

CSR
 
Tyler Ludens
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I'm guessing they aren't actually "crabs" but some kind of freshwater shrimps or crayfish. 
 
Mekka Pakanohida
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Ludi wrote:
I'm guessing they aren't actually "crabs" but some kind of freshwater shrimps or crayfish.   


Ahh, that's a completely different kettle...  ..of shellfish. 

That would then just be a simple matter of setting up a pond that has sufficient hiding spaces, oxygen, food and a proper temperature tolerance range for the lil critters.  After that, bog plants around the out side, and viola! 


Now to find out what kind they are for that alpine air in Austria. 
 
Emerson White
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I think the assessment of crayfish is probably correct. I will also point out that both fish and crabs are types of animal (kingdom Animalia), perhaps you meant Tetrapod.
 
                                    
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Ludi wrote:
I'm guessing they aren't actually "crabs" but some kind of freshwater shrimps or crayfish.   


I believe by "they" you are referring to when I mentioned the Giant River Prawn (and several species of Australian Crayfish). I was merely mentioning an alternative to farming crabs because they are other tasty crustaceans which may not require salt at all (I plan to read more into this). So yes, the final paragraph of my previous post was not referring to crabs. As I understand it, prawns are the freshwater equivalent of shrimp (i.e. shrimp require a marine environment).

Emerson White wrote:
I think the assessment of crayfish is probably correct. I will also point out that both fish and crabs are types of animal (kingdom Animalia), perhaps you meant Tetrapod.


When I mentioned not wanting to kill an animal I was thinking of mammals or birds. But I suppose that is what I meant because I can't think of a tetrapod I would feel comfortable killing.


The question I would like to address is whether or not any freshwater crustaceans can live their entire lives in water without added salt. I'll be looking into it.
 
Tyler Ludens
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carl_sagan_returns wrote:
I believe by "they" you are referring to when I mentioned the Giant River Prawn


No, actually I was referring to the title of the thread - "Holzer Crab Aquaculture."  I'm guessing his "crabs" are probably crayfish. 

As far as I know, crayfish live their entire lives in fresh water (though it may not be "100% salt-free"
 
                                    
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Ah, I see what you mean. I am almost certain he raises crab as I've seen it mentioned several times but never directly addressed. Maybe you're right and it's a translation error. I guess we won't know until we hear from someone who knows first hand what crustaceans Sepp keeps.

And you're probably right about the crayfish too (I suppose even freshwater isn't 100% salt-free).
 
Mekka Pakanohida
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carl_sagan_returns wrote:
Ah, I see what you mean. I am almost certain he raises crab as I've seen it mentioned several times but never directly addressed. Maybe you're right and it's a translation error.

And you're probably right about the crayfish too (I suppose even freshwater isn't 100% salt-free).


Your right, freshwater does have some salts of various types in it, and is even sold in pet stores to condition water for certain fresh water species.

Also, for utter clarity at this point.

Lobsters, Crayfish & True Crabs are Decapods; In other words, 10 footed.

Tetrapods are 4 footed, like Elk, Amphibians, some lobed fish, & so on.
 
Brenda Groth
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ok dokey, why not just go with fish, that is what I'm going to do in my pond this spring...if I still have money after a stinkin hernia surgery that is !!

I have been doing some research for protein fish that will grow in smaller ponds like ours, and first I need to add some oxygenating and feed type plants and get them established first, as we just had a new dig last summer which removed a lot of the vegetation, and then I'm going to a hatchery and getting me some fish to eat..well they'll have to grow a bit but I'm eating fish 2 orf 3 times a week now so I think it is the best live protein solution for me, never thought i'd like to mess with crayfish or crabby things myself..ugh

also plant yourself some nut trees for proteins..

I'm also not fond of the idea of butchering animals..but fish for some reason just seem easier to kill, not sure why, and you can catch, kill and eat them all within an hour
 
Mekka Pakanohida
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carl_sagan_returns wrote:
Ah, I see what you mean. I am almost certain he raises crab as I've seen it mentioned several times but never directly addressed. Maybe you're right and it's a translation error. I guess we won't know until we hear from someone who knows first hand what crustaceans Sepp keeps.

And you're probably right about the crayfish too (I suppose even freshwater isn't 100% salt-free).


Here is a little more information I randomly dug up this morning for you.

http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/y4100e/y4100e08.htm

 
Kirsten Benot
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I’m wondering if anyone has done any further research or experiments with crayfish culture… particularly in northern areas.
I know from my own discussion with Sepp that he cultures Astacus Astacus, or the “Noble Crayfish”, which aren’t available in North America. During our conversation last April, Sepp expressed a lot of enthusiasm about the possibilities of crayfish culture; he sees it as a high value, niche market, and considers that they are very easy and low maintenance to raise. Given a long shoreline, and sufficient depth to prevent a complete freeze, they will propagate, and overwinter even in cold climates.
I’ve done some research into native North American species, and there seem to be several possibilities, depending on where you live. For our purposes, the Northern Crayfish (Orconectes Virilis) looks like the most promising species.

At the bottom of this post, I've attached a map of their range, and a picture of the Northern Crayfish.

This website contains some good basic information about them:
http://el.erdc.usace.army.mil/ansrp/ANSIS/html/orconectes_virilis_northern_crayfish.htm

I had no idea that crayfish culture was such a huge industry in the southern U.S. – apparently the second largest aquaculture industry in the US!
I don’t think many folks are doing it in the northern parts yet, but according to this study, there’s good potential:
http://www.ncrac.org/files/technical_bulletins/tb112.pdf

It all looks good on paper, but I’d really like to hear from anyone who has actually tried doing it.
Sepp will be here in May, and if I can get permission from local authorities (it’s illegal to possess crayfish since the Rusty Crayfish, an invasive species, was discovered in Manitoba), I know that he will be keen to see us develop waterscapes for aquaculture.
I also wonder about how to market them – Sepp seemed to think that with a significant Russian and Eastern European population in Winnipeg, we’d have no trouble marketing them, but even so, would consumers buy them live? Or would they want them processed?
Any insights welcome!
Crayfish_Range.jpg
[Thumbnail for Crayfish_Range.jpg]
Northern-crayfish.jpg
[Thumbnail for Northern-crayfish.jpg]
 
Ryan Workman
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I remember as a kid catching these during the summer in eastern Idaho. We called them crawdads. We never tried eating them, we just played with them and let them go. I remember some of them had a beautiful blue tint. According to this, Idaho Crawfish, they prefer warmer waters so as long as your pond wasn't a deep cold one it seems like they could be cultivated. Although the ones I caught as a kid were never very big.
 
Will Scoggins
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Crawdads (crayfish, craw daddies, etc.) are delicious, and everyone I know who eats them prefer to buy them live and cook the critters fresh.
 
Ray Star
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As a kid, my cousins and I use to catch them in the streams. The water was always shallow, fast moving and ice cold. They would usually die if we tried to keep
them in bowls. I've never seen them in ponds. I am truly excited to learn raising them might be an option for my homestead project. Thanks for starting this
post!!
 
Peter Ellis
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Crayfish are definitely a food and cash crop. I keep thinking about fitting them into an aquaponics system where they live under the floating lettuce beds. Might be some issue of them pruning the roots, but would have to give it a try. With crayfish under the floating beds, I could still have fin fish in the tanks, without the crayfish and fin fish eating one another

I would expect to sell them live, rather than take on any processing - except when I was processing for family dinner.

I have fond memories of a summer afternoon when we discovered crayfish in the stream while floating along on air mattresses. Suddenly the quiet idyl turned into a hunt, and there was an impromptu crawdad boil for lunch!
 
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