Scientists from the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) are embarking on a project to mass-produce rock lobsters in captivity. The team aimed to achieve a better understanding of rock lobster biology so farmers can develop technology to build and run enclosed farms.
It can take years for tiny larvae to grow into adults which is why the farming project is 15 years in the making. The slow and complex life cycle of rock lobsters is one of the reasons why lobster is an expensive item on restaurant menus. The IMAS scientists have managed to ‘close the life cycle’ and grow lobsters from eggs to adults in captivity, which is the foundation of any aquaculture industry and a huge achievement.
With $5 million in funding from the Australian Research Council, the project aims to pave the way for lobster farming overseas. US restaurant company the Darden Group has also backed the project by supporting a trial in Malaysia that will also provide support to local communities.