Bay lobster, Thenus oriental.
Bay lobster aquaculture to be developed in Tasmania
Tuesday, July 17, 2018, 00:40 (GMT + 9)
The Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), under the University of Tasmania, has paved the way for the bay lobster (Thenus oriental) aquaculture industry in Tasmania, after developing a unique method to breed the resource commercially.
Based at IMAS’s Taroona laboratories, the ARC Research Hub for Commercial Development of Rock Lobster Culture Systems began researching hatchery techniques for the resource, better known as Moreton Bay Bugs, in September 2017. The starting point for this project was the technique developed for the tropical rock lobster, of the Panulirus family.
“There are many biological similarities between the two species, particularly during the larval period, where tank design, water quality and appropriate feed are vital for lobster survival and growth,” pointed out The Research Hub’s Director, Associate Professor Greg Smith.
The researcher stressed that by applying their techniques to bay lobsters in recent months, it has been possible to successfully rear thousands of juvenile bay lobsters.
Dr Smith also said the Research Hub’s industry partner, PFG Group, is enthusiastic about growing both species in their commercial scale hatchery, which is currently in the early stages of planning.
“While Bay Lobsters fetch a lower price per kilo than Tropical Rock Lobsters, their fast growth rates and sociable nature makes the species particularly suitable to intensive commercial culture,” he said.
The scientists clarified that a juvenile Bay Lobster completes its larval stage in just three weeks, compared with four months for a Tropical Rock Lobster, and reaches the 250 grams suitable for market in only nine months.
“We are now keen to test the technology’s potential on other high value crustacean species,” he added.