Thursday, April 5, 2018

05/04/2018: Field monitoring for offshore lobster aquaculture

As reported by Dr Jamie Luxmoore, Research Fellow, University of Exeter

I’m going to talk about the field monitoring on our Lobster Grower 2 project

A brief introduction into the project itself and then an overview of the whole field monitoring programme. Then I’m going to dive into the deep end of what we’re monitoring: Site and Environment Monitoring including; Wave buoys, Acoustic Doppler current profilers, Bio-chemical water quality arrays, Spot-point sampling for bio-chemical water quality and micro-constituents. Finally, we will discuss Container Based Monitoring; Internal environment monitoring and Container motion monitoring. 

 
Image credit: Andrew Wilkinson on Flickr
(CC BY-SA 2.0)
Lobster Grower 2 is a three-year project funded by Innovate UK and BBSCRC to establish a pilot scale lobster farm. The lobster grower 1 study developed a no-feed input system for rearing European Lobster (Homarus gammarus) at sea. The techniques developed should be suitable for either stock enhancement or for aquaculture.

At the moment, lobster farming isn’t really something that happens, certainly not on any scale, for a number of reasons. They take a long to grow for one and they tend to eat each other so they need to be kept in separate containers. But the lobster grower 1 study developed a no-feed input system for rearing European Lobster (Homarus gammarus) at sea. We’re looking to continue that project and prove it can happen at a bigger scale, as the techniques developed should be suitable for either stock enhancement or for aquaculture (if we can get around some of the regulatory problems).

Aims of the project:
• Field test the sea-based container culture systems previously developed;
• Develop novel anchoring/mooring systems for the containers;
• Develop an aqua-economic model and road map to de-risk future farming operations.

We’re about a year and a half in to the project and so far over 25,000 lobsters have been deployed into St Austell Bay, Cornwall on the south coast, to mid-year two. Survival rate is variable, the main die-off is very soon after you put them out at sea, survival also depends on how old they are when you put them out at sea, whether they’re in post larval stage or malting stage. The idea is to get them to stage 6 where the survival rates are a lot better.

Three main methods of holding the containers in place have been trialled – hanging from mussel lines, floating above a weighted ground line and a novel integrated seabed-based system, with the aim to be a bit more stable than the rope-based system to see if that makes any difference. The project is being managed from an already existing mussel farm and using mussel farm boats for the servicing.

Read the full article, HERE.

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