Post-harvest Processing, Value Addition and Marketing of Lobsters

  • Vijayakumaran MEmail author
  • E. V. Radhakrishnan
  • G. Maheswarudu
  • T. K. Srinivasa Gopal
  • Lakshmi Pillai S


Seafood is the most commonly traded commodity in the world and the export value of world trade in fish was $136 billion in 2013. Lobster remains a highly prized delicacy the world over. World lobster catch has been steadily increasing over the years and 3,08,926 tonnes were harvested from capture fisheries in 2015. The four main commercial lobster species contributing to 80% of the total world catch are the American lobster (Homarus americanus), the European lobster, H. gammarus, the Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus and the Spiny lobster Panulirus argus. World trade in lobster has grown steadily with both exports and imports showing an increasing trend. During the past 13 years, world trade in lobster grew substantially, from 1,10, 000 tonnes in 2001 to over 1,70, 000 tonnes in 2014. Total lobster trade in 2014 was valued at US$3.3 billion, almost double that of 13 years earlier. The USA was the largest importer of lobster products worth US$1.29 billion in 2014, (36.2%), followed by China with US$576.7 million (17.4%) and Canada with 334.5 million (10.2%). Lobsters are marketed live, processed and frozen form, and the demand for these products is guided by the consumer preference and price. Chinese and Japanese consumers prefer live lobsters, as seafood in live condition ensures freshness and good quality of the meat. The processed lobster market has also developed considerably in recent years, with companies seeking to make lobster products more easily accessible and attractive to the consumer.

Annual average capture fisheries production of lobsters in India is 1696 tonnes (2000–2016), mainly constituted by the spiny and slipper lobsters. The annual average lobster export from India between 1997 and 2014 was 1417 tonnes valued at US$ 20.1 million. India exports lobsters to 22 countries in Europe and Asia and China followed by UAE are the largest importers from India. Nearly 25 different lobster products including live lobsters are exported from India. Fresh-chilled whole spiny lobster followed by frozen whole spiny lobster form the major export. Recently IQF lobsters (spiny and slipper) have found good export market, especially in Europe. The volume of plate-frozen whole cooked lobster in Japan has drastically come down from 1000 tonnes in 2000 to 361 tonnes in 2014, probably due to increased demand for IQF whole cooked lobster. Online marketing of sea food is creating waves especially in the western countries and India too should take advantage of this to market the lobster products to boost export. The volume of live lobster export have to be substantially increased to fetch the premium price offered to this product in the international market.


Seafood Export Marketing Live lobsters 


  1. Anderson, J. C. (2016, March 18). Sweden seeks to stop imports of live Maine lobster into Europe. Business.Google Scholar
  2. Annie, T., & McCarron, P. (2006). Lobster market overview. Maine Lobstermen’s Association.Google Scholar
  3. Barker, E., & Rossbach, M. (2013). Western rock lobster fishery—2013/2014 season. Comm Fish Product Bulletin, 48, 1–8. Department of Fisheries, Government of Western Australia.Google Scholar
  4. Barrento, S. (2010). Nutritional quality and physiological responses to transport and storage of live crustaceans traded in Portugal. Ph. D. thesis, Universidade do Porto. Porto. 261 pp.Google Scholar
  5. Bridges, C. F., & Brand, A. R. (1980). Oxygen consumption and oxygen independence in Marine crustaceans. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 2, 133–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. CMFRI, K. (2017). CMFRI Ann. Rep. 2016–2017. Technical report (p. 284). Kochi: CMFRI.Google Scholar
  7. Coyle, S. D., Durborow, R. M., & Tidwell, J. M. (2004). Anesthetics in aquaculture. Stoneville: Southern Regional Aquaculture Center, Publication. No. 3900.Google Scholar
  8. Defur, P. L. (1988). Systemic respiratory adaptations to air exposure in intertidal decapod crustaceans. American Zoologist, 28, 115–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ellington, W. R. (1983). The recovery from anaerobic metabolism in invertebrates. The Journal of Experimental Zoology, 228, 431–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. FAO. (2014). FAO year book 2012: Fish aquaculture statistcs. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
  11. FAO. (2016a). Strong lobster supplies but weakening demand in China and Europe.
  12. FAO. (2016b). FAO year book 2015: Fish aquaculture statistics. FAO, Rome 2016.Google Scholar
  13. FAO. (2017). Globefish Research Programme, The World Lobster Market, Vol. 123. Food Export Association of the Midwest USA 309 W Washington Street, Suite 600 Chicago, IL 60606 USA
  14. Foley, D. M., Stewart, J. E., & Holley, R. A. (1966). Iso-butyl alcohol and methyl pentynol as general anaesthetics for the lobster, Homarus americanus Milne-Edwards. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 44, 141–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Frederich, M., & Pörtner, H. O. (2000). Oxygen limitation of thermal tolerance defined by cardiac and ventilatory performance in spider crab, Maja squinado. American Journal of Physiology—Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 279, 1531–1538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gäde, G., Graham, R. A., & Ellington, W. R. (1986). Metabolic disposition of lactate in the horseshoe crab Limulus polyphemus and the stone crab Menippe mercenaria. Marine Biology, 91, 473–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. George, M. J. (1973). The lobster fishery resources of India. In Proceedings symposium on living resources of the seas around India. Cochin, December 1968 (pp. 570–580). Special Publication, Central marine Fisheries research Institute.Google Scholar
  18. Greenaway, P., Morris, S., McMahon, B. R., Farrelly, C. C., & Gallagher, K. L. (1996). Air breathing by the purple shore crab Hemigrapsus nudus (Dana). 1. Morphology, behaviour and respiratory gas exchange. Physiological Zoology, 69, 785–805.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Guilbault, K. (2015). Global analysis report. Agriculture and Agri-Food in Canada. Global Analysis Division 1341 Baseline Road, Tower 5, 4th floor Ottawa, ON Canada K1A 0C5.Google Scholar
  20. Holmyard, N., & Franz, N. (2006). Lobster Markets. FAO, GLOBEFISH, Fishery Industries Division Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome.Google Scholar
  21. Ilangumaran, G. (2014). Microbial degradation of lobster shells to extract chitin derivatives for plant disease management. Master of Science, Dalhousie, Halifax, Nova Scotia.Google Scholar
  22. Jayagopal, P. (2004). Studies on stress during live transport of spiny lobsters-Panulirus spp., Ph.D. Thesis. University of Madras, Chepauk, Chennai – 600005, India.Google Scholar
  23. Kriz, A. (1995, August 29–31). Live crustaceans: Seeking a competitive advantage. Aquaculture towards the 21st century. K. P. P. Nambiar, & T. Singh (Eds.), Proceedings of the INFOFISH-AQUATECH ‘94 conference (pp. 249–253). Colombo: INFOFISH.Google Scholar
  24. Lorenzon, S., Giulianini, P. G., Martinis, M., & Ferrero, E. A. (2007). Stress effect of different temperatures and air exposure during transport on physiological profiles in the American lobster Homarus americanus. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology – Part A: Molecular Integrative Physiology, 147, 94–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Maharajan, A., & Vijayakumaran, M. (2004). Copper toxicity in the spiny Lobster, Panulirus homarus (Linnaeus). Proc. MBR 2004 Nati. Sem. New Front. Mar. Biosci. Res. (pp. 205–212).Google Scholar
  26. Megan Ware. (2016). Lobster: Nutritional information, health benefits. RDN LD Knowledge Centre.
  27. Morris, S., & Bridges, C. R. (1994). Properties of respiratory pigments in bimodal breathing animals: Air and water breathing by fish and crustaceans. American Zoologist, 34, 216–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. MPEDA. (2016). Annual Report. Kochi: Marine Products Export Development Authority.Google Scholar
  29. Plaganyi, E. E., McGarvey, R., Gardner, C., Caputi, N., Dennis, D., de Lestang, S., Hartmann, K., Liggins, G., Linnane, A., Ingrid, E., Arlidge, B., Green, B., & Villanuev, C. (2017). Overview, opportunities and outlook for Australian spiny lobster fisheries. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 28(1), 57–87. ISSN 0960-3166 (2017) [Refereed Article].CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Radhakrishnan, E. V. (1989). Physiological and biochemical studies on the spiny lobster Panulirus homarus. Ph. D Thesis, University of Madras, Madras, pp. 168.Google Scholar
  31. Raghubeer, E. V. (2007, September). High hydrostatic pressure processing of seafood. Avure Technologies.
  32. Rahman, K. M., & Srikrishnadhas, B. (1994). Packing of live lobsters-the Indian experience. INFOFISH International, 6/94, 47–49.Google Scholar
  33. Sackton, J. (2007). Global supply, demand and markets for lobster: What are the opportunities for N. American Lobster. Halifax.
  34. Schmitt, A. S. C., & Uglow, R. F. (1997). Haemolymph constituent levels and ammonia efflux rates of Nephrops norvegicus during emersion. Marine Biology, 127, 403–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Smith, W.F.G. 1958. The spiny lobster fishery in Florida. Univ Miami Educat Ser No. 11 p. 18.Google Scholar
  36. Spanoghe, P. T., & Bourne, P. K. (1997). Relative influence of environmental factors and processing techniques on Panulirus cygnus morbidity and mortality during simulated live shipments. Marine and Freshwater Research, 48(8), 839–844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Speed, S. R., Baldwin, J., Wong, R. J., & Wells, R. M. G. (2001). Metabolic characteristics of muscles in the spiny lobster, Jasus edwardsii and responses to emersion during simulated live transport. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, 128 B, 435–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Spicer, J. I., Hilll, A. D., Taylor, A. C., & Strang, R. H. C. (1990). Effect of aerial exposure on concentrations of selected metabolites in the blood of the Norwegian lobster Nephrops norvegicus (Crustacea: Nephropidae). Marine Biology, 105, 129–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Stebbing, P., Johnson, P., Delahunty, A., Clark, P. F., McCollin, T., Hale, C., & Clark, S. (2012). Reports of American lobsters, Homarus americanus (H. Milne Edwards, 1837), in British waters. BioInvasions Records, 1(1), 17–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Tselikis, A., & McCarron, P. (2009). Lobster market overview. Trade adjustment assistance for farmers. Kennebunk: Maine Lobstermen’s Association.Google Scholar
  41. Vermeer, G. K. (1987). Effects of air exposure on desiccation rate, haemolymph chemistry, and escape behaviour of the spiny lobster, Panulirus argus. Fishery Bulletin, 85(1), 45–51.Google Scholar
  42. Vijayakumaran, M., & Radhakrishnan, E. V. (1997). Live transport and marketing of spiny lobsters in India. Marine and Freshwater Research, 48, 823–828.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zebe, E. (1982). Anaerobic metabolism in Upogebia pugettensis and Callianassa californiensis (Crustacea, Thalassinidea). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, 72(B), 613–618.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vijayakumaran M
    • 1
    Email author
  • E. V. Radhakrishnan
    • 1
  • G. Maheswarudu
    • 1
  • T. K. Srinivasa Gopal
    • 2
  • Lakshmi Pillai S
    • 1
  1. 1.ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research InstituteCochinIndia
  2. 2.ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries TechnologyCochinIndia

Personalised recommendations