Photo credit: Credit: Kevin Fitzsimmons (USA)
Review: Abdel Rahman El Gamal (Founder of the website)
The culture of spiny lobster (Palinuridae) in Indonesia has begun in “Lombok” in the early 2000s where the naturally settled “pueruli” are abundant.
The production of spiny lobster to date is based mainly on naturally settled seed (pueruli), which in some areas of Indonesia are abundant and easily caught including Telong Elong/Gili Belik and Ekas Bay.
In 2011, grow-out production was estimated to be 60 tons whereas the primary species farmed was the “scalloped spiny lobster”, Panulirus homarus, followed by “ornate spiny lobster”, Panulirus ornatus (shown in the inserted picture).
Based on the strong market for spiny lobsters and the relative success of lobster culture by smallholder farmers, it is believed that lobster aquaculture will provide a profitable business opportunity to coastal communities where lobster seeds can be found.
The 81,000 km of coastline in Indonesia is homing thousands of sheltered lagoons and bays that are suitable for sea cage culture.
Nursing and grow-out:
Captured lobster seeds are quickly moved from the collection traps and placed in nursery cages with approximate dimensions of 2 to 3 m along each side and 2 m deep, consisting of fine mesh. Nursery cages are furnished with seaweed (Gracillaria sp.) which provides shelter for the small lobsters. The nursing of lobster may last for 1-3 months until attaining 5-10 g.
Grow-out cages are stocked with nursed lobsters at an average density of up to 30/m². Cages with a smaller mesh size are used for the initial phase of grow-out.
As lobsters grow, they are periodically harvested and manually graded whereas larger lobsters are stocked in different cages at lower densities depending on target harvest size; typically around 5/m2 at 200 g and 2/m2 at 500 g harvest size.
The harvest size of P. ornatus is usually around 1 kg which achieves the best price especially for export market and for “sashimi”. This typically takes 18-20 months. In Indonesia, where P. homarus is the most commonly farmed species, the desired market size is 100-300 g, which takes about 9 months.
Traditionally, lobster grow-out farmers use low value finfish (trash fish) supplemented by mollusks and crustaceans to feed lobsters. However, it is likely that farmers might use pellet feeding once a reliable supply at affordable price is secured.
As the demand for lobster seeds increases, its price is expected to increase which may cause a constraint for the development of lobster culture as practiced by coastal small holders in Indonesia who primary depends on the availability and pricing of lobster seeds.
For sustainable lobster aquaculture a shift from low-value trash fish to formulated pelleted diets needs to be considered. Similarly, the hatchery technology for seed production of lobster needs to be commercialized.