Proceedings of the Third World Fisheries Congress: Feeding the World with Fish in the Next Millenium—The Balance between Production and Environment

Recent Developments in Spiny Lobster Aquaculture

Bruce F. Phillips, Grant C. Liddy


Interest in the aquaculture of spiny lobsters has persisted for more than 100 years, but the first complete larval development was not achieved for 90 years, when Kittaka (1988) cultured the Cape rock lobster (South African or New Zealand red rock lobster) Jasus lalandii through its larval stages to the puerulus stage. Despite this, when Kittaka and Booth (1994) reviewed the prospects for spiny lobster aquaculture, they stated that “The greatest hurdle in the commercial culture of spiny lobster is the difficulty in growing species through their larval stages. Culture of spiny lobster is still not feasible today in spite of significant advances in recent years. However, because spiny lobsters mature and breed in captivity, and because they can be grown communally, it seems likely that their commercial culture will be possible in the medium term.”

In a more recent review of spiny lobster aquaculture, Kittaka and Booth (2000) provide an excellent review of the published literature on the subject. However, because of the commercial potential of spiny lobster aquaculture, most developments are unpublished. In addition, this area is developing rapidly, and much of the research is ongoing or recently completed. In this paper, we examine both the full culture of spiny lobsters and the grow-out of pueruli and juveniles, present the latest research activities worldwide, and assess future developments.

When considering an animal for aquaculture, having a good understanding of its life history is critical. The general life cycle spiny lobster species (Figure 1) is complex and includes a long oceanic larval phase that varies in length between species. This phase is estimated to last 9–11 months in the western rock lobster Panulirus cygnus (Phillips et al. 1979) but at least 12–24 months in the southern rock lobster (or Australian red rock lobster) Jasus edwardsii (Booth 1994). Tropical species may have shorter oceanic cycles, but little reliable data are available for these species.