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New Business Ideas No. 14: Freshwater Yabbies New Business Ideas No. 14: Freshwater Yabbies
by Murray Hunter
2014-03-14 09:48:22
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I remember growing up in Australia, visiting dams on farms. The common freshwater yabby (Cherax destructor) was something that we used to catch and cook up for a beautiful country-side meal. For many years very few people realized the potential value of this crustacean as a culinary delight.

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These crayfish-like creatures feed on vegetable matter and are found in Australia and parts of Indonesia in dams, swamps, lakes, creeks, irrigation drains, and rivers. Other similar species are scattered all around the world. They like slow flowing muddy environments where they can hide from potential predators.

Yabbies can be reared successfully either in outdoor dams or indoors in tanks. They are relatively easy to hatch and rear as water quality is not as critical in yabby farming, as it is in the farming of other freshwater crustaceans. A yield of commercially viable yabbies (around 10cm long) can be achieved within 16 months of hatching, especially if the water temperature is around 28°C.

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Yabbies can be the base of Creole or Cajun style, as well as Asian style seafood dishes. Yabbies have become acceptable as a high-end delicacy that is catching on in places like Singapore, Hong Kong, and China.

Many Australian farms are now rearing yabbies for supply to the finest local restaurants and export with ex-farm prices between USD 20-30 per kilogram. Many farms through their yabby projects have also been able to develop lucrative agro-tourism activities such as yabby farming and fine food cuisine restaurants within their properties.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFGYn05KZ1Q

From the entrepreneurship perspective, yabby farming could begin as a hobby/interest started at home if you have the space or on your farm. This type of entrepreneurial idea requires a lot of learning by trial and error because what information is online needs to be tested and learned with the conditions you have to work with. Thats why there would be a couple of years (hobby) work involved so you can move along the learning curve and master the rearing of yabbies.

In terms of capital outlay. Yabby farming in the experimental stage may only require an outlay of a couple of thousand dollars. However commercial yabby farming at home may require a much larger investment depending upon how you set up your operation. If you live on a farm with existing dams your capital outlays may be much less, but your hatching and processing facilities may require some investment.

The slow production scale up in this business suits a slow sales scale up. Look for local restaurants you can introduce this delicacy to. Once you have enough to supply one restaurant and you are confident with production you can expand your customer base.

Yabby farming is a sunrise industry in Australia. its set to grow and there is value of product there to make the industry a profitable one in the foreseeable future. Yabby farming is a great supplementary income to other agricultural activities in a farm or market garden situation. This idea will suit those who love to experiment and interested in detail. Good results will come to those who are patient. Current production is extremely limited, but this scarcity also means very little market development has taken place, which means you will have to market the whole concept of yabby as a high class top end cuisine to your potential customers.

Yabby farming is not a short term project. It will take a few years to see any reasonable returns. However entering into this industry as a hobby first may be the best way to build up the necessary expertise and knowledge.

One thing is for certain - yabbies will be one of the high growth and most expensive aquaculture products in the near future.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueM-RquWDP4

 


       
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