University of Tasmania

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The why, where, and how of spiny lobster aquaculture (Panulirus ornatus)

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 16:18 authored by Gregory SmithGregory Smith, Quinn FitzgibbonQuinn Fitzgibbon, Battaglene, SC, Simon, CJ, Evan Goulden, Cundy, DJ, Jeffs, A, Christopher CarterChristopher Carter
Spiny lobsters, also known as rock lobsters, have a global distribution stretching from tropical to temperate climate zones, with more than 40 species commercially fished. Despite increased catch per unit effort in many fisheries, total landings have plateaued at 80,000 MT. A transitional spiny lobster aquaculture industry exists in Vietnam using wild caught puerulus or juveniles grown to market size in sea cages. Recently, seedstock of the preferred species, Panulirus ornatus, has become difficult to obtain with prices exceeding $US15 per puerulus. The preference for P. ornatus is due to high consumer demand, ease of post-larval culture, and a fast growth rate (1kg in 15-18 months). With consumer demand for spiny lobsters growing in Southeast Asia, there is interest in creating a sustainable hatchery source of spiny lobster seedstock. The larval cycle of up to 10 spiny lobster species have been completed in laboratory settings; however, until recently, replicating these results at a commercial scale has not been possible. The University of Tasmania’s Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) has been working on spiny lobster larval culture for 18 years. During the last 6 years, IMAS scientists and research partners have focused on developing technology for commercial application for the culture of P. ornatus. There have been many obstacles in converting spiny lobster larval research to commercial production due to the species’ complex larval phase, requirement for high quality water, susceptibility to bacterial diseases, specific nutritional requirements, and lack of appropriate manufactured feeds and commercial scale culture systems. Focused research at IMAS has overcome many of these hurdles and has allowed consistent pilot scale production of seedstock. The next stage is to move from pilot scale operations at the IMAS to testing the technology in a commercial setting. The availability of commercially produced spiny lobster seedstock could have a role in progressing habitat restoration and intensive aquaculture programs.


Australian Research Council

UTAS Nexus Aquasciences Pty Ltd


Publication title

11th international Conference and Workshop on Lobster Biology and Management




Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

Event title

11th international Conference and Workshop on Lobster Biology and Management

Event Venue

Portland, Maine, USA

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Fisheries - aquaculture not elsewhere classified

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