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Re-Stocking and Enhancement of Clawed Lobster Stocks: a Review

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Since the late 19th century homarid lobsters have been cultured under hatchery conditions, and hatchery-reared Homarus americanus and H. gammarus have been released into the wild on many occasions in North America and Europe, respectively. The success of such re-stocking programmes could not be evaluated, however, due to lack of a suitable tagging method to discriminate between hatchery-reared lobsters and natural stock. This paper reviews the early attempts at re-stocking, and then describes in some detail more recent experiments that make use of coded microwire tags. The recent results show that hatchery-reared animals can survive to recruit to a fishery, but despite this initial success, there remain important biological questions on whether re-stocking programmes are likely to provide sustainable benefits to fisheries and whether released animals actually enhance or simply displace natural stocks. The success of future re-stocking programmes will be easier to evaluate if biological and economic objectives are more tightly defined at the planning stage.

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Affiliations: 1: Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Directorate of Fisheries Research, Fisheries Laboratory, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR33 OHT, England


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