The juvenile lobsters (“seed”) being deployed in SBCC systems for the Lobster Grower 2 research programme are supplied by the National Lobster Hatchery (NLH). Juvenile seed are produced from larvae, hatched from egg-bearing females, which are reared through the most vulnerable stage of their life-cycle until they are fully developed juvenile lobsters ready for deployment. This process is land-based and takes place in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) using filtered and sterilised seawater.
The NLH are always looking to improve their hatchery processes and seed supply and their Lobster Module Project is one way of making this happen. This two year research programme aims to develop knowledge about seed supply, taking a practical approach to examining a simple, containerised, mobile, modular and scalable system of land based seed supply. It will specifically look at water quality issues associated with dockside production and it includes the installation of a compact RAS facility that can produce 20,000 stage 6-8 lobsters a year. This new facility is situated on the dockside in Newlyn, Cornwall and is now fully operational.
Lobster Module has two key aims:
- Create an innovative toolbox for future operators. Land based systems should be situated in close vicinity of a sea based container culture (SBCC) sitewith access to excellent water quality and have the option for scalability to meet site demands. The project will make a practical assessment of the challenges associated with gaining permissions for operation, the practical appropriateness of a range of potential sites, the practical implementation of installation, the costs associated with start-up, operation and production. It will also generate production data, examine unit costs of production and assess scalability issues.
- Further develop approaches for stabilising post-larval seed production, it will allow full scale testing of innovations developed by the NLH and provide a real time evaluation of the impacts of site location and water quality.