Kilkeel Lobster Hatchery by Todd Fish
February 2, 2016
Todd Fisheries Technology’s first full scale Lobster Hatchery in Kilkeel, Northern Ireland.
We were delighted to be awarded the contract by Kilkeel Development Association to design, manufacture and install the new state-of-the-art lobster hatchery.
The hatchery is called Seascope and incorporates a visitor centre and oyster hatchery (also manufactured by Todd Fish). The motivation behind the hatchery was to ensure the locally important lobster fishery was stable and sustainable. Renowned researcher Professor Paulo Prodohl, from Queens University in Belfast, is working with the hatchery on new research relating to genetics, diet and efficacy of lobster hatcheries. The North Coast Lobster Fishermen’s Association are also partners and supporters of the project.
Now managed by Jessica and her team the hatchery is gearing up for the start of the lobster fishing season this year. The hatchery includes broodstock tanks for the berried female lobsters. Once the eggs hatch the larvae are planktonic and move into large kreisel tanks. Kreisels create the correct flow and water movement to enable the larvae to feed using as little energy as possible and avoiding other lobster larvae which are cannibalistic. Once the larvae moult 3 times they are stage 4 juveniles and naturally settle out on the sea bed. The juveniles move into our new design of tank which is circular and has trays with individual compartments. The trays move around with a spray bar which can automate feeding. This reduces the manpower required. At this stage traditional hatcheries create a bottleneck as they do not have enough floor space to raise sufficient numbers of juveniles for release. The time to feed and check the juveniles is also a challenge in other hatcheries. Our new juvenile system solves this as they are automatically fed and can be easily seen from above. The water flow is optimised and there is no dead zones which can collect dirt and be hard to clean. The juveniles can be released between stage 4 and 7 (the pros and cons of each stage in another blog).
Todd Fish lobster hatcheries can raise hundreds of thousands of lobster juveniles for release back to the fishery. Current hatcheries raise tens of thousands (in a good year) and cost much, much more. Lobster hatcheries are not aquaculture – they are fisheries enhancement. The numbers, both of the capital cost and numbers released and returning to the fishery, need to be right.