Review of Prospects for Lobster Farming
Increasing fishing pressure on natural fishery resources and declining capture fisheries has prompted research institutions to develop different types of mariculture systems for farming several potential species. The Indian spiny lobster Panulirus homarus homarus and the mud spiny lobster Panulirus polyphagus are currently harvested along the Indian coast and present a possible opportunity for ongrowing wild juvenile lobsters in culture facilities. The large quantity of juveniles and subadults incidentally caught are either exported illegally or sold in local markets. Young lobsters are in high demand in the Southeast Asian markets and in the absence of strict enforcement of minimum legal size for export, they have found a lucrative overseas market. India exports 85% of the landed lobsters as frozen which fetch only half the price of live lobsters. Therefore possibilities of ongrowing these juvenile lobsters as a means of adding value to the resource is expected to increase the diversity of economic activities in the coastal regions.
Three species of spiny lobsters, P. homarus homarus, P. ornatus and P. polyphagus are the most promising species for aquaculture in India. While large quantity of juveniles and subadults of P. homarus homarus and P. polyphagus incidentally caught by subsistence fishermen are landed along the south and northwest coasts, juveniles of the fast growing P. ornatus is scarcely available. However, recent success in seed production of the species shows promise for aquaculture of the species on a commercial scale. The development of a cost-effective artificial food appears to be a high priority for improving profitability in spiny lobster culture. Further technological and management strategies are required for improving the scale and cost-efficiency of collecting, maintaining and transportation of seed lobsters from the wild.
Land based farming systems are commercially feasible but profitability will depend upon reducing the infrastructure and operating costs especially the seed and the feed cost. It is also crucial to maintain water quality through out the culture period to prevent diseases and mortality. Seacage farming is less capital intensive and shows good potential for development in India. Important research and development gaps that need immediate attention are improvement of technology for holding and transportation of seed lobsters from the wild, the quantity that can be exploited without hampering the natural recruitment to the fishery, determination of optimal management practices and development of cost-effective formulated feeds.
KeywordsSpecific Growth Rate Spiny Lobster Artificial Feed Rock Lobster Green Mussel
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