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Harvest season begins for China's popular crabs

Photo taken on Sept. 29, 2018 shows the hairy crabs caught from Yangcheng Lake at Bacheng Township, Kunshan City, east China's Jiangsu Province. (Xinhua/Zhu Weixi)

NANJING, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- This year's harvest season for China's highly sought-after freshwater crabs began on Friday in the Yangcheng Lake in Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province.

A total of around 9,400 tonnes of the tasty and pricey mitten crabs are expected to be harvested and hit the market.

The crabs will be collected from a breeding area covering around 5,900 hectares, according to the Suzhou municipal agriculture and rural affairs bureau.

"With sufficient lighting, fewer pests and diseases, and improving water quality in the Yangcheng Lake, the crabs this year are of fairly good quality," said Xu Hao, a local farmer.

Chinese people have a custom of eating crabs in autumn when the meat is at its best. The tradition can be traced back to the Han Dynasty (202 BC to 220).

Crabs are considered auspicious as the Chinese word for crab is "xie," which is pronounced the same as the Chinese word for "thanks." ■