What's In My Portfolio: Desmond Chow

Photo courtesy of Desmond Chow
05 Oct 2021

Desmond Chow is the founder and CEO of Singapore Crawfish

"Singapore Crawfish is my passion project turned business. It was founded by chance, from what was initially meant to be a class research project back when I was lecturing at a university. I sent my students on a nine-month long research project to analyze plants, livestock, and seafood to find what was most profitable to rear or sell, and discovered that crawfish was the best option due to three factors: High reproduction rate, low mortality, and the high international demand in countries like China, United States, Sweden, and Finland.

Since starting our first farm in 2018 at Sungei Tengah, we’ve been through many ups and downs, but I’m proud to say that we are now Singapore’s only high-tech, live crawfish farmer. One of our goals is to supply the freshest live crawfish islandwide (to both retail and wholesale outlets) in the most sustainable and responsible manner. In the future, we also seek to raise awareness of the potential of the crawfish to transform communities and economies, such as alleviating food insecurity while helping governments achieve socio-political and economic stability.

I’m proud of how far we’ve come with our farming techniques and technology. Farmers in the traditional aquaculture and crawfish industry face problems like limited knowledge of crawfish breeding, mishandling, and the labor cost of manually separating crawfish fries from the adults to prevent filial cannibalism. We initially faced these problems at the start and decided that this ineffective method needed to stop.

After years of research, testing, and project failures, we finally managed to produce our novel, modular AHS in 2020; one that was not only cost efficient, but also space conducive, easily maintained, and highly modular. While on the outside it looks like simple tiers and rows of tanks joined together, on the inside are genetically selected male and female crawfish carefully placed at the exact ratio in an environment suited for reproduction and breeding. With the infusion of nine key technological systems, we are able to ensure healthy and fast growth for all our crawfishes.

We’re also in the process of patenting our technology and building a Specific Pathogen-Free (SPF) Hatchery to increase the number of crawfish fry produced, while lowering their hatching mortality. This technology could change the face of global aquaculture and we’re really excited to see this through."