Live Lobster Transportation System
Fishermen either keep the lobsters in wet sand until the traders come and pick it or sell it to local merchants. These traders either keep them in holding tanks with recirculation facility (most of them with inadequate water reuse facility) or keep them in cages kept in rock pools until collected by the exporters. Since only larger lobsters with high price are given more care, the undersized low price lobsters are kept under high stress in very poor quality water.
Therefore they are weak and are easily susceptible to diseases. They are unsuitable for fattening purposes. When there are transported to long distances they become further weak and on stocking dies gradually. The green colour of the lobster is lost and their shell becomes reddish in colour, which is indicative of stress.
If the undersized lobsters should be useful for fattening, fishermen and traders should follow certain protocols so that they could supply healthy seed to the entrepreneurs. Juveniles are especially susceptible to stress and therefore they should be kept in water soon after they are brought to the shore. It is better to keep them buried in cool moist sand in shade rather than keeping at high densities in poor quality water.
Maximum care should be taken so that their appendages are not lost while removing from
the net or they are not injured below the abdomen. During holding in unhealthy condition they are infected by deadly pathogens through these injuries and there are instances of high mortality due to infection by pathogenic bacteria.
Fattening in land-based holding systems
Lobsters can be successfully held and fattened in land-based holding systems provided suitable environment is provided.
Critical environmental parameters include the concentration of dissolved oxygen, ammonia, nitrite and carbondioxide. Nitrate concentration, pH, salinity and alkalinity levels within the system are also important. In flow through systems, the main limiting factor is dissolved oxygen.
The requirement of oxygen will be high during molting and soon after feeding. Both the process normally takes place during night and optimum levels of oxygen shall be maintained during night to avoid oxygen depletion and mortality. Oxygen related stress would adversely affect growth significantly.
Unlike shrimps, lobsters are oxygen conformers and may not show any sign of low oxygen conditions, as they are capable of adjusting the metabolism even at very low levels of oxygen. Sufficient water needs to be pumped through or the water needs to be aerated to ensure lobsters are supplied with sufficient oxygen.
Sudden salinity fluctuation during rains is a serious situation and in such circumstances salinity, alkalinity and pH should be adjusted in a reservoir, before the water is pumped in. though lobsters can tolerate gradual changes in salinity to a limited range, sudden dilution can lead to stress, susceptibility to disease and mortality.
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