The Hindu , 09 August 2006

Four lakh larvae of painted spiny lobsters sea ranched

Tuticorin : The Fisheries College and Research Institute has sea ranched four lakh larvae of painted spiny lobsters scientifically named `Panulirus versicolor' here on Monday.

It was done under a project titled `Conservation of lobsters in the Gulf of Mannar' funded by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

According to V.K. Venkataramani, dean, Fisheries College and Research Institute, the lobsters were reared by an institute team led by B Srikrishnadhas, professor, Department of Fisheries Biology and Capture Fisheries, using a female lobster weighed 850 gm and a male lobster weighed 600 gm in a tank of 1,000 litre capacity at the marine biological laboratory.

"The larvae produced in the process were allowed to grow to a length of 2 mm under the laboratory condition itself, before sea ranched Dr. Venkataramani said breeding of lobster species and subsequently sea ranching them into the Gulf of Mannar looked to be an effective solution to enhance the stock of lobsters in the region.

"The use of trammel nets, gill nets and indiscriminate catch of mother lobsters had dwindled the lobster population in the Gulf of Mannar coastal waters considerably in the last few years," he said adding that destruction of coral beds aggravated the depletion.

The lobster catch along the Tuticorin coast had plummeted to 41 tonnes during 2004 against 169 tonnes of lobsters caught in 2002. Dr. Venkataramani exhorted fishermen to use nylon nets and plant materials to catch lobsters and further advised them to release the egg-bearing lobsters caught in trammel nets back into the sea to protect the lobster population.