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Lobster Hatchery Project Helps Stocks Rebound

23 July 2012, at 1:00am

CANADA - The New Brunswick Aquarium and Marine Centre is running a program that is designed to prevent down years in the lobster fishery.

So far, the 2012 lobster harvest has been good, but that's not always the case, reports CBCNews.

Fishermen on the Acadian Peninsula are working on a project aimed at bolstering lobster stocks in the future.

They supply female lobsters carrying eggs to the marine centre in Shippagan, where the crustaceans are hatched in giant tanks.

Martin Mallet, the project director for Homarus Inc., said those lobsters are then sorted and the offspring are given enough time to develop past the stage when they're most vulnerable.

In the hatchery, it takes us about two weeks to the stage four that we seed. And we bypass that critical mortality stage that you see in nature, he said.

The hatchery increases survival rates by 300 times that of lobsters born in the wild.

And with the sheer numbers being produced in the northeastern New Brunswick marine centre, areas with critically low lobster stocks could rebound in the future.

Rmy Hach, a project leader with the Coastal Zone Research Institute, said the number of lobsters being produced by the centre is growing dramatically.

The first year we produced about a little bit over 1,000 larvae. This year we expect to produce over 400,000 larvae. So that's giving you an idea of how much we progressed in 10 years, Mr Hach said.

Helping communities

The lobster hatchery works with communities that want to rebuild their lobster stocks.

On Thursday, nearly 18,000 lobster were dispersed in the Bay of Chaleur off of Heron Island.

George Snyder from Eel River Bar First Nation said local fishermen have been noticing the new lobsters over the last few years.

Coming from a First Nations community and to be able to put back into the system here it makes us really feel great to know that it's working and we hear a lot of positive things, not only here but in the other communities along the coast where they're seeding right now, he said.

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