Sea-ranching is based on releasing juvenile
lobsters into dedicated areas with suitable habitats, in order
to increase the harvestable stock. Sea-ranch areas can be
subject to exclusive rights obtained by those releasing
juveniles. The release can also be carried out as part of a
general government enhancement program. Lobsters released into
the wild in their natural environment are recaptured
(harvested) when they have attained a marketable size.
From the Hatchery...
The brood-stock or
so-called "berried" females are captured from the wild,
using pots. They are individually stored in tanks in
suitable conditions. Female lobsters reach sexual maturity in a
minimum of 5 years of age. After that period they
become berried twice every three years. In the wild
lobsters usually hatch overnight in July-August
releasing a couple of thousand larvae at a time. These
new larvae, or "Stage I" larvae, initiate their
planktonic phase in our lobster incubators.
Lobster larvae will pass
through three planktonic or "swimming" stages,
during which they will be provided with food.
Their feeding regime can be composed of
several small crustaceans such as artemia,
krill or copepods, either frozen or alive. In
order to grow, they will remove their hard
exoskeleton: a process known as "moulting".
Newly moulted larvae are exposed to predation
which requires an appropriate daily diet and
water circulation to avoid and reduce this
cannibalistic behavior.lobster incubators.
After the third moult, the larvae reach the
"Stage IV" which can be easily identified by a remarkable
change in the body structure and behavior, and they
instinctively look for a suitable substrate to hide in.
...to the Sea Ranch
At this post-larval stage, lobsters have
better survival rates. In fact, during its previous planktonic
phases, larvae are naturally subject to many pelagic predators
in the water column. In order to release lobsters on the
defined sea-ranch, benthic Stage IV are introduced in the
lobster settling system (LSS).
This patented system, benefiting from constant testing and
improvements, has proven to be a secure living environment and
allows the larvae to be distributed over a defined area. The
LSS offers unique advantages
compared to already existent sea ranching techniques, such as
"hand release" or using divers. It considerably contributes to
increase the amount of lobsters available on the sea-ranch.
After a minimum period of 4-5 years, which
represents the average duration for a lobster to reach a
marketable size, lobsters can be re-caught using standard