Lobster is a high value species, not currently exploited in the aquaculture sector with only an estimated 4.3% of demand being met and a supply deficit in the region of 120,000 tonnes. Lobster is a high value marine species suitable for aquaculture and recent trials of Sea Based Container Culture (SBCC) approaches have established promising early stage results. The Lobster Module complements and runs in parallel to trials currently taking place in Cornwall in the Lobster Grower 2 (LG2) project. These trials are examining an innovative approach to farming lobster whether for stock enhancement or aquaculture; utilising a simple, practical, semi-extensive, low carbon approach with zero feed inputs.
LG2, a three year, consortium project, led by the National Lobster Hatchery has established a pilot scale lobster farm to develop 3 priority areas. It is intended that a third project (LG3) will make further developments in the field and potentially test the market.
The Lobster Module is a demonstration project that will examine the practical feasibility of operating essential on-shore facilities and equipment to complement and supply offshore operations. It takes a practical approach, examining a simple, mobile, modular and scalable system of land based seed supply that can be located near to a farm. It will test and identify issues associated with deployment and operation of a module, creating a toolkit for future lobster farmers: identifying site selection criteria and addressing the requirements of SBCC producers. This project will meet the collective interest of the LG2 consortium and provide collective benefits to future farmers, whether for stock enhancement or aquaculture.
Funding from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and European Maritime & Fisheries Fund (EMFF) has made this project possible and funded the build of a modular hatchery in Newlyn harbour.
In the summer of 2017, our second hatchery at Newlyn Harbour was installed by Shellfish Hatchery Systems Ltd. The hatchery itself is located within two shipping containers and is fitted with the most up to date lobster rearing equipment. This facility is not open to the public, however, the hatching and rearing process in Newlyn is almost identical to the Padstow hatchery, which is open to visitors year round. Check out our Visitor Centre and come and visit us.
It will provide our wild lobster stock enhancement programme with up to 20,000 juveniles per year and examine the potential to increase the productivity of European aquaculture.