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Lobster 'Seeds' Take Hold in Gulf of St Lawrence

US - On a rocking fishing boat half a mile from shore, a scientist screwed a blue hose to a water tank filled with 16,500 penny-sized lobsters. The other end was dropped to the sea floor.

Seconds later, baby crustaceans streamed onto the rocky bottom of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, with what scientists say is a vastly improved chance to wind up red and juicy on dinner plates around the world, reports the Boston.

According to the news agency, the biologist and two fishermen were seeding the ocean with lobsters in a reinvigorated effort to preserve the fabled catch of New England and eastern Canada. While lobsters are abundant in Maine and Massachusetts, there are growing concerns that New England's most valuable catch might one day fade away, like cod and flounder before it. Mysterious lobster population declines in Long Island Sound and off Prince Edward Island are accelerating century-old efforts to raise baby lobsters in hatcheries and use them to seed the sea.

After decades of frustrating effort, there are now early signs that hatchery-raised lobsters are thriving in the ocean off New Brunswick, and scientists say a suite of new techniques might allow them to substantially supplement - and, if need be, save - the nearly $1 billion US and Canadian lobster industry.

Ellen Hardy

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