Sunday, 9 December 2012

Lobster Farming Breakthrough: Doubling Survival Rates Among Lobster Larvae Under Farmed Conditions

ScienceDaily (Dec. 4, 2012) — Researchers in Norway have recently succeeded in doubling survival rates among lobster larvae under farmed conditions. This could boost populations of a species threatened in the wild.

In the early 1950s the Norwegian wild lobster catch amounted to about 1000 tonnes per year. Today this figure has been reduced by 95 per cent. This drastic decline has resulted in the release of juvenile lobsters as part of sea-ranching programmes.

The animals come from Norsk Hummer AS' facility at Tjeldbergodden. The company has been working for something over 20 years, together with SINTEF among others, to find the best system of farming this unique species.

Heat is the key
"In nature, development rates among lobster larvae are determined by water temperature," explains SINTEF researcher Jan Ove Evjemo. "In spite of the fact that a female lobster can produce as many as ten thousand larvae, total production along the Norwegian coast is relatively low. This is due to low water temperatures and high predation rates by other crustaceans and fish," he says.

This is why at Tjeldbergodden surplus heat from the methanol plant is used to create optimal conditions for these fastidious creatures. If all goes to plan, they will end their lives as well-nourished wild lobsters.

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