Project unlocks lobster rearing potential
A PIONEERING project rearing lobsters in new sea based systems has shown great potential.
Led by the National Lobster Hatchery (NLH) in Padstow, Cornwall, the threeyear initiative – named Lobster Grower 2 (LG2) – used sea based container culture systems, which required no feed inputs.
More than 26,000 lobsters were deployed into culture containers in St Austell Bay, and were monitored to determine production success.
The scheme, which is now complete, accumulated the world’s largest data set detailing the development of European lobster juveniles, with the collection of over 48,000 observations of survival and 15,300 measurements of growth.
It will be invaluable to both industry development and future research, said the NLH’s consortium partners who include the University of Exeter, Westcountry Mussels of Fowey, Cefas (the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science), and Falmouth University.
The consortium also studied the diet of these early stage lobsters by examining the assemblages of organisms fouling the culture containers (from which the lobsters feed off) as well as analysis of the gut content.
The group said LG2 has unlocked the secrets to lobster aquaculture by identifying the key barriers to commercial realisation.
Carly Daniels, principal investigator of LG2 and head of Production, Science and Development for the NLH, said:‘The pinch points highlighted through LG2, including the prohibitive cost of lobster juvenile seed, gives lobster aquaculture innovation a clear direction that has transferable outcomes to improving stock enhancement and aquaculture alike.
‘LG2 has helped make key advances in lobster aquaculture with the vision to making lobster aquaculture a viable venture by 2030. It has also generated a wealth of knowledge relating to the development of early life stages in the wild - an area which has baffled marine biologists for years.’
Above: Carly Daniels with the NLH team