as LobsterPlant, the project aims to rear lobsters individually through
an innovative land-based farming process, thereby significantly
increasing their numbers to meet growing consumer demand. |
Lobsters have always been seen as a luxury food item and the European
Lobster, Homarus gammarus, with its particular taste and texture, is by
far the most popular.
However, the European lobster comprises only 1-3% of global lobster
landings at present. Simply put, demand far outweighs supply.
The new EU Framework 7 project, worth €1,350,000
(around £1,082,500) in total, will benefit from celebrity endorsement
from Rick Stein, one of the nine participants in the project.
Mr Stein will promote the farming process and demonstrate the quality
of land-reared lobster through his television programmes, ultimately
planning to obtain farmed lobster for his Padstow sea-food restaurants
and hotels from the Norwegian project co-ordinator and commercial
lobster farming company, Norsk Hummer AS.
The National Lobster Hatchery at Padstow will also be working alongside Swansea University on the project.
Aquaculture is now of great interest as an alternative method to
increase supply of European lobster, especially through land-based
farming techniques which allow lobster to grow to market size in
approximately 18-24 months compared to approximately 5 years in the
As well as enabling more rapid growth, lobster farming also offers a
steady and reliable supply to the market, supplementing existing
supplies of lobster from the wild.
Until now, farming of European lobster has been hampered by the
laborious process of housing and feeding the animals individually, to
prevent them battling each other with their powerful claws.
This drawback will be addressed in the new project by introducing
modern technologies such as robotics and digital imaging, to feed and
measure the growing lobsters automatically.
An expert consortium of research partners has been brought together to
develop and apply the technologies needed, led by the National
Institute of Technology in Norway.
Dr Robin Shields, Dr Adam Powell and Dr Ingrid Lupatsch from CSAR will
join other project partners at the Norsk Hummer Plant in Norway this
week, to contribute their expertise in aquaculture water quality
control, health management and nutrition. Juvenile lobsters are already
being reared at CSAR in Swansea as part of the project.
Dr Shields, Director of CSAR which forms part of the School for the
Environment and Society said: "We are delighted that Swansea University
is playing an important role in this European project to establish
commercially viable farming of one of our best known and highly
regarded seafood species. The techniques developed will also be
adaptable for re-stocking juvenile lobsters into the wild, providing
benefits to both the Welsh aquaculture and capture fisheries
communities in future."
Kilde: The Fish Site