FCRI's efforts to increase lobster population pay off

P. Sudhakar

TIRUNELVELI: A project to increase the lobster population along the Tuticorin coast, undertaken by the Fisheries College and Research Institute (FCRI), a constituent institute of Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, has yielded good results.

The juvenile population of lobsters, which was on the decline, has improved in the region. The FCRI sea ranched over two lakh spiny lobster larvae along the Tuticorin coast on Thursday.

The institute has undertaken a study on the highly-exploited commercial species such as lobsters, shrimps, crabs and endangered marine ornamental fishes.

Based on its findings, scalloped spiny lobster, Panulirus homarus, a highly exploited species in the Gulf of Mannar, is being periodically sea ranched by the scientists of the Department of Fisheries Biology and Capture Fisheries P. Jawahar, Associate Professor, and N. Jayakumar, Assistant professor.


During the study, a female berried lobster weighing 455 gm was bred in a tank of 1,000-litre capacity and the larvae called ‘phyllosoma' were reared for three days to a length of 3 to 4 mm.

After being reared in the tank, over two lakh larvae were ranched in the Tuticorin coast, near the rocky area of Hare Island region on Thursday. Dean (in-charge), FCRI, M. Venkatasamy, noted that the exploited species were being sea ranched to enhance the stock.

He appealed to the fishermen to release into the sea the egg-bearing lobsters whenever they were caught in the nets to increase the lobster production. Capturing of juvenile lobsters and berried lobster should be discouraged to improve their yield, he said. V.K. Venkataramani, Director of Research and Extension (Fisheries), said that the study of lobsters in this region, during the last three years, showed a declining trend and hence the FCRI started sea ranching of juvenile lobsters after rearing them in artificial conditions.

Rise in lobster population

“Harvesting of lobster in careless fashion is rampant in this region in the last two years due to capturing of young lobsters. The FCRI has so far ranched 1.5 million lobster seeds in and around Tuticorin region and the scientists are also doing impact studies on sea ranching. Our studies have shown significant enhancement of lobster population in this coast. It is also interesting to note by this study that the size of lobster juvenile population has increased considerably, particularly in Tuticorin coast,” he said.