Exploring the possibilities of sea-based lobster aquaculture
This project will use innovative solutions to assess the technical, commercial and scientific potential of rearing lobsters at sea in containers. It will also create an opportunity to farm the UK’s most expensive seafood product (by weight) with the economic profile of mussel farming (the UK’s lowest value seafood product). It addresses an unexplored area of aquaculture development, by examining the potential of a new approach to farming a technically challenging species.
The project has established an Industrial Steering Committee (ISC) to help guide the project outputs and potential future of the industry. The ISC is made up of individuals with a wide-range of expertise including fisherman, seafood merchants, retailers, regulators, scientists, trade associations and a marine conservation charity.
An aqua-economic model & technical road-map
A key outcome of the project is the production of an aqua-economic model that considers technical, practical, environmental, economic and social parameters, in order to understand the commercial viability of lobster aquaculture. This aims to provide a platform to unlock commercial investment that will lead to the exploitation of a valuable protein source.
Lobster Grower 2 (LG2) will also road-map the further technological, economic and policy challenges currently limiting development of a novel aquaculture sector. This road-map will draw conclusions from the aqua-economic model, which will clearly identify the barriers to commercial development and provide a framework for future industry developments. Based on an extrapolation of the modelled data, together with information retrieved through the marine planning process across the UK, the road-map will give an overview of how the lobster cultivation sector may develop over a 5-year, 10-year and 20-year time period. Additional components will develop recommendations on Governmental policy changes required to assist industrial development.
LG2 seeks to undertake a complete field evaluation of the SBCC systems developed in the early stage Lobster Grower project, whilst de-risking the commercial realisation of farming systems through detailed environmental risk evaluation. Lastly, LG2 will further develop innovative anchoring systems and monitoring techniques for sea based aquaculture deployments. Several commercial opportunities will arise from LG2 and the lead organisation has set up a trading company, NLH Enterprises Ltd (NLHE), to capitalise on these opportunities.