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November 14, 2014

Australia

Tasmania—Lobster Farming Research

 

On November 12, 2014, the Australian Research Council (ARC) announced a $4.4 million grant to help establish the ARC Research Hub for Commercial Development of Rock Lobster Culture Systems in Taroona, Tasmania.  The Hub is designed to further studies on the mass production of rock lobsters.  It will work with researchers from University of Tasmania’s Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies to develop ways to grow and harvest rock lobsters in large numbers for commercial use.  The Director of the Hub, Associate Professor Stephen Battaglene, said his research team has closed the life cycle of three species of rock lobsters.

 

The hub also received a $3.7 million contribution from the Darden Restaurants, which owns and operate restaurant chains in the United States.  Darden Aquafarm President Bill Herzig said, “Some of our restaurants cater to a more upscale crowd, and those are the areas where I think a lot of products from perhaps Tasmania may naturally fit.”

 

Professor Battaglene said the next challenge for the project was to increase capacity.  “We’re currently breeding thousands of rock lobsters, but in order to commercialize it, we’re going to have to produce millions.”

 

The Darden Group, which owns more than 1,500 restaurants and franchises, has invested millions of dollars in the project.  It plans to use the seedstock, equipment and technology developed in Tasmania to establish a caged farming trial in Malaysia, where lobsters grow faster in warmer tropical waters.

 

Information: Stephen Battaglene, Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (phone +61-3-6227-7268, fax +61-3 6227-8035, email stephen.battaglene@utas.edu.au).

 

Sources: 1. ABC.Net.Au.  The Push for a Commercial Lobster Farm Industry in Tasmania.  November 12, 2014.  2. Noodles.com.  ARC Rock Lobster Release November 2014 for Web.PDF.  November 12, 2014.  3. ABC.Net.Au.  Lobster Farming a Step Closer Thanks to Tasmanian Research TeamRosemary Bolger and Gregor Salmon.  November 12, 2014.

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