Lobsters are cannibalistic in nature and should therefore be kept sepa¬rate from each other in captivity. This fact makes it difficult to manually run large scale farming of lobster on land. The LobsterPlant project is fo¬cused on developing automated technology for individual monitoring and feeding of lobster in land based systems. This development will make it practically and economically feasible to run large scale farming of Euro¬pean and American lobster.
As harvesting of the natural lobster stock cannot sustain the market de¬mand for European lobster, aquaculture is of great interest as an alterna¬tive method to increase supply.
Two methods are available to supply the market:
a) Through sea ranching projects releasing juvenile lobsters to the sea bed for later harvest (but these are then dependant on supplies of juve¬niles from hatcheries), or
b) Through inland based farming, controlling the entire cycle from hatch¬ing to harvesting.
The great benefits of on-growing of lobster to market or plate-size on land as opposed to ranching are the possibility of a controlled environ¬ment, more rapid growth and a steady and reliable supply to the market. A lobster cultured in a controlled environment on land will grow to market size in approximately 18-24 months compared to a wild lobster which will take approximately 5 years to reach the same size under natural conditions.
Today, after 10-20 years of significant developments in automated tech¬nology, no company can provide technology which makes large scale land based production of European and American lobster feasible, both with respect to economical and practical aspects. Several private com¬panies have historically attempted to establish complete lobster produc¬tion on land without commercial success due to lack of automated meth¬ods for large scale production.
To develop automated feeding and imaging technology as well as clean¬ing technology for removal of waste in raceways, making it practical and financial feasible to conduct large scale land based farming of lobster to market size as well as for large scale land based production of juveniles for wild stock restoration and sea ranching purposes.
The SMEs in the project intend to hold IPR and licensing rights, be man¬ufactures and suppliers of the technology to the new market to be cre¬ated of large scale land based production of lobsters.