Culture of juvenile European lobster (Homarus gammarus L.) in submerged cages


A bottleneck for re-establishment or enhancement of lobster (Homarus gammarus L.) populations through release of hatchery-produced juveniles is ineffective and expensive juvenile production. In this study, we cultured lobster juveniles from stage V to a size being suitable for re-establishment or enhancement purposes (40–50 mm total length) in cages submerged under existing facilities for culture of bivalves. The lobsters were not feed or tended during the culture period (6–14 months). The survival and growth rates were similar or higher compared to what has been achieved with other methods used for culture of lobster juveniles in the past. The highest survival (82–89%) and fastest growth (4–5 cm total length over 190–250 days) were achieved using commercial oyster baskets. It is believed that the juveniles fed on naturally occurring plankton and organisms growing inside the cages. Thus, the current study shows that it is possible to culture lobster juveniles for reestablishment or enhancement purposes in a way that would involve less investments and operational costs than earlier used methods as there would be no need for artificial heating of water, for large buildings or for continuous feeding and tending of large numbers of juveniles.

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The current study involved technology transfer and collaboration between Norway, Spain and Ireland. Much of the research detailed was undertaken as a part of the InterReg IIIc project Aquareg ( We will in particular thank the coordinators of the AquaReg project, Geir Tevassvold, Sigurd Bjørgo, Alan Drum and Gabriel de Labra Chas for practical and organizational help during the project. We would also like to thank the staff at IGAFA for their invaluable help during the course of the study. Furthermore, we are very grateful for the valuable inputs from Brian Beal, Ann-Lisbeth Agnalt, Gro I. van der Meeren, Oliver Tully and John Mercer during the initial phase of the project. For the trials in Ireland, we would like to express our appreciation to all of those that have contributed, in particular Saul Joyce and IGAFA for supplying the baskets used during these trials and the shellfish growers Thomas Connolly, Simon Kennedy and Michael Molloy who kindly and generously facilitated the trials and helped to make this study work. We would also thank the Padstow Lobster Hatchery and Dominic Boothroyd for providing the lobsters for the trials in Ireland.

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Correspondence to Ingebrigt Uglem.

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Perez Benavente, G., Uglem, I., Browne, R. et al. Culture of juvenile European lobster (Homarus gammarus L.) in submerged cages. Aquacult Int 18, 1177–1189 (2010).

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  • Homarus gammarus L.
  • Lobster culture
  • Stock enhancement
  • Stock reestablishment