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Cooking & Eating Cooking & Eating (25)
I WAS GIVEN lobsters from PEI cooked which were killed on Saturday September 11 and I want to eat them today September 13. How do I warm them up?

Answer:
It is recommended that they are at their best eaten cold. If you prefer them warm, wrapping in foil (to keep moist) and warming slowly in a warm oven can work.
Is my lobster safe to eat if I have frozen it while alive.

Answer:
Lobsters decompose very rapidly after they die. Unless they are flash frozen they may take some time to freeze in your freezer after death. Therefore, in our Scientists opinion it would not be safe to eat.
why are cooked lobsters with dark discolored shells so heavy and full of meat as opposed to the bright orange colored ones that are not ?

Answer:
This could simply be due to the fact that dark discoloured lobsters are usually lobsters with old shell while bright coloured ones are often recently moulted lobsters that haven’t had a chance to ‘fill up’ with meat yet.
I have heard so many different ways about how to kill a crayfish correctly. Could you please tell me which method would be the most humane and appropriate??

Answer:
Simply gently place the crayfish in boiling water, head/legs first.
If you should not cook and eat a lobster when it has already died because it can be potentially harmful to humans then how do the supermarkets sell frozen, not cooked lobster tails?

Answer:
Lobsters start to decompose very rapidly, for that reason, it is not recommended to cook and eat dead lobster unless you know that the lobster died merely moments before being frozen. In the case of frozen lobster tails, the tails are frozen immediately after being removed from the lobster and do not have time to decompose before they are frozen.
Were do lobsters poop from ??

Answer:
The lobster has a digestive system which consists of a long tract divided into three main regions: the foregut, midgut, and hindgut. Food is handled and processed first by the mouthparts and then is crushed by the mandibles before being swallowed. It then makes its way through the three main regions of the digestive system. Any remaining material (not digested) is packaged into fecal pellets surrounding by a mucous membrane. Contractions of the midgut force the pellets along to the hindgut and into the enlarged rectum. Rapid rectal contractions push the pellets out the anus at the base of the tail.
How do I keep lobster alive until ready to cook? Buying live to cook next day.

Answer:
For freshness, it is recommended that you cook live lobsters immediately within 24 hours of purchase. Live lobsters can be stored up to two days if placed in the coldest part of the refrigerator in the bag they were in at the time of purchase or in an open container. It is best to keep them moist with a damp towel or newspaper. Do not immerse lobsters in water or place on ice in an airtight container as they will suffocate and die. If you keep them at this cold temperature as described above, they will stay in their “hibernation state” until you’re ready to cook them.
We brought back frozen cooked lobster from New Brunswick – how long should it be boiled or steamed in order to eat it?

Answer:
It’s best not to defrost the lobster and simply reheated for two minutes in boiling water. Once you have reheated the lobster, you can use it as called for in any recipe.
When Chinese people prepare lobster they have a procedure called “releasing the urine” (放尿)–> chopstick is inserted into a little hole near the tail (anus?) about 10cm deep and then withdrawn, and usually murky liquids will gush out of it. … (more)

Full Question:
When Chinese people prepare lobster they have a procedure called “releasing the urine” (放尿)–> chopstick is inserted into a little hole near the tail (anus?) about 10cm deep and then withdrawn, and usually murky liquids will gush out of it. They claim that lobster cooked without this procedure will often taste “funny” or brackish or stale. Have you ever heard of this and is this true?

Answer:
First of all, the orifice near the end of the tail is in fact the anus. Therefore, the murky liquid that comes out after the chopstick is removed is faeces, not urine. Urine would come out of the excretory pore, located at the base of the antennas. Nowadays, most live lobster shippers would first ‘season’ their lobsters before shipping. Seasoning is the term industry used to refer to a period of 2-3 days where lobsters are held before they are sold to consumers; this period should allow for the gastro-intestinal tract to empty itself. A less traumatic alternative to the chopstick method!
Hello, We just had lobster tonight which we steamed. However, the tomalley in my lobster was a reddish color, not the usual green. What caused this? Thank you for your help! Ricki

Answer:
This reddish color stuff found inside the cooked lobster at the base of the body and along the tail is the female lobster’s roe or eggs. It is considered a gourmet treat by some people. Also, The colour of the tomalley will vary somewhat based on the lobster’s diet. Also, we sometime see a very dark, almost gooey tomalley when lobsters are not fully cooked.
When you cook fresh lobster how long could it be keep in a cold place before is not good. 1 or 2 day?

Answer:
If the lobster is maintained at 1 to 3C it will remain good for three to four days.

When preparing lobster, what parts in the body must be discarded and what can be eaten?

Answer:
There are no parts on the lobster that are poisonous. However, the ‘sac’ or stomach of the lobster, which is located behind the eyes, can be filled with shell particles, bones from bait and digestive juices that are not very tasty. The tomalley is the lobster’s liver and hepatopancreas. It is often thought to be a delicious treat; however many advise against eating the tomalley. Much like the liver of other animals, the lobster’s tomalley is the natural filter to prevent contaminants, like dioxins, from entering the system. It is a reassuring indication of the lobster’s natural defense system at work, keeping the lobster meat wholesome, nutritious and delicious.

How much fat is in a lobster? And what kind is there?

Answer:
For nutrition information on lobster, one site we found by searching the internet is www.tastelobster.ca/english/nutrition.html

I’ve been searching the internet looking for discussion of a problem I had cooking up some lobsters. I hope you can help me with it. Here is the problem: When we opened up the five thoroughly boiled lobsters (1-1/4 to … (more)

Full Question:
I’ve been searching the internet looking for discussion of a problem I had cooking up some lobsters. I hope you can help me with it. Here is the problem: When we opened up the five thoroughly boiled lobsters (1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds each), the tails of three of them contained a black gooey substance. The substance was not smelly and was generally confined to the base of the tail..not the end. The substance had a mildly unpleasant taste sort of brackish. Can you folks tell me what the substance was. Could it be a secretion caused by improperly boiling the lobsters. All were boiled for about eight to twelve minutes but in some cases the boiling stopped temporarily when the lobster was placed in the pot of hot water. I appreciate your help with this.

Answer:
The black gooey substance was likely the tomalley (hepatopancreas) of the lobsters that probably weren’t cooked long enough.

This may seem like a silly question, but my friends tell me of this old wives’ tale that if you eat the brain/head of a lobster then you could die. They mentioned something like a poison called “old woman in … (more)

Full Question:
This may seem like a silly question, but my friends tell me of this old wives’ tale that if you eat the brain/head of a lobster then you could die. They mentioned something like a poison called “old woman in a rocking chair”. It sounds ridiculous to me so could you clarify this for me?

Answer:
There are no parts on the lobster that are poisonous. However, what you are referring to is the ‘sac’ or stomach of the lobster and it is located behind the eyes. It can be filled with shell particles, bones from bait and digestive juices that are not very tasty.

I am a grade 6 student doing a report on lobsters. I was wondering if it is good to eat the heart, liver, stomach and intestines of a lobster.

Answer:
There are no parts on the lobster that are poisonous. However, the ‘sac’ or stomach of the lobster, which is located behind the eyes, can be filled with shell particles, bones from bait and digestive juices that are not very tasty. The tomalley is the lobster’s liver and hepatopancreas. It is often thought to be a delicious treat; however many advise against eating the tomalley. Much like the liver of other animals, the lobster’s tomalley is the natural filter to prevent contaminants, like dioxins, from entering the system. It is a reassuring indication of the lobster’s natural defense system at work, keeping the lobster meat wholesome, nutritious and delicious.

We have an annual Lobsterfest where we cook about a ton of lobster to support a Kiwanis Club fund raising activity. Two years ago, we experienced a large number of the lobsters turned black and were quite soft and mushy … (more)

Full Question:
We have an annual Lobsterfest where we cook about a ton of lobster to support a Kiwanis Club fund raising activity. Two years ago, we experienced a large number of the lobsters turned black and were quite soft and mushy inside. There has been an on-going discussion regarding the cause of this blackness. One side says that the lobster turned black because they were not cooked enough. The other side maintains that the reason the lobster turned black is because they were bad to begin with. We would very much appreciate your learned opinion on what would cause this blackening and spoiling of the lobster.

Answer:
When many lobsters turn black during/after cooking, I tend to think that they were improperly cooked. When the internal temperature during cooking doesn’t reach a certain level, the enzyme ‘phenoloxidase’ can get activated, resulting in the deposition of melanin, or black pigment. The blackening can affect only part of the lobster, or almost the entire inside of the animal. The only guideline for properly cooking lobsters is that internal temperature must reach 80 °C.

I have eaten many lobsters in my lifetime and never experienced anything like this. Just came back from a seafood restaurant after having a lobster. When I rip the tail from the body, there was a black clump inside the … (more)

Full Question:
I have eaten many lobsters in my lifetime and never experienced anything like this. Just came back from a seafood restaurant after having a lobster. When I rip the tail from the body, there was a black clump inside the body. It looked like the liver but more clumpy, like black custard. What is that? Am I going to be sick with this?

Answer:
It looks/sounds like your lobster was just about to extrude her eggs or was in the process of absorbing them. Lobsters may absorb developing oocytes (eggs) rather than maturing & spawning them. This is generally considered abnormal & may be brought on by environmental or physiological stress, however resorption can also occur in natural populations if the molting & reproductive cycles conflict. There are no parts on the lobster that are poisonous so you should be fine.

I have heard that if you do not cook lobster when they are alive that their bodies release a chemical that is dangerous to humans. Is that true?

Answer:
Once lobsters die they decompose really fast, and therefore, bacterial proliferation can be significant. The bacterial contamination comes from the gut content; after death, the lining of the gut decompose rapidly, allowing bacteria to leak into to surrounding tissues which for the most part is the tail. The bacteria produced can be harmful to you if you eat the lobster.

Why do the red eggs or row turn black sometimes after they are cooked? Some people think it is because they were not cooked enough. I don’t believe that. Can you help me find the real answer?

Answer:
We often hear about cooked lobsters that are black. I can think of three reasons for that: 1) Female lobsters with eggs that are ready to be extruded. Although not fertilized yet, the eggs are more or less black. However, I would think that heat should be sufficient to turn the eggs into a reddish color. 2) Female lobsters with non-extruded eggs that for what ever reason decided not to release the eggs (I assume some stressors, or non-optimal environmental conditions?). The eggs are then reabsorbed. And the black pigment is redistributed within the animals. Part of the flesh is then blackish, even after cooking. This is usually the case when one lobster (a female, obviously) turns black in a group of several. 3) Lobsters that are not cooked properly (insufficient cooking temperature). I believe the prophenoloxidase (ProPO) system can then be activated at certain temperature resulting on massive deposition of melanin throughout the animal. This certain temperature is normally exceeded by proper cooking and therefore, the ProPO system isn’t activated. This is usually the case when several, most or all lobsters turn black in a group of lobsters being cooked together. Normally, the lobster internal temperature should reach 80 °C for it to be properly cooked.

Do Lobsters cry when they are being cooked or is that just an old wives tale?

Answer:
Lobsters do not have vocal cords, so they can’t cry. The whistling sound is just the steam escaping/being released from the shell.

How much lobster meat can you get from a lobster?

Answer:
A 1/2kg lobster yields approximately 236 grams of meat.

How do I store my live lobsters before cooking?

Answer:
For freshness, it is recommended that you cook live lobsters immediately within 24 hours of purchase. Live lobsters can be stored up to two days if placed in the coldest part of the refrigerator in the bag they were in at the time of purchase or in an open container. It is best to keep them moist with a damp towel or newspaper. Do not immerse lobsters in water or place on ice in an airtight container as they will suffocate and die. If you keep them at this cold temperature as described above, they will stay in their “hibernation state” until you’re ready to cook them.

How can you tell when a lobster is cooked?

Answer:
A lobster is cooked when it is bright red in colour and when the legs and antennae can be pulled off easily. The tomalley should be green and firm, the roe bright red and the meat white, elastic and opaque.

Why does a lobster turn red when cooked?

Answer:
The shell color is made up of pigments. When it is cooked, all the pigments are masked except for astaxanthin, which is the red background pigment.

Facts Facts (23)
what is it called when a lobster regrows his claw

Answer:
The term used when a lobster regrows a claw is “regenerate”.
What is the normal ( natural ) % of moisture in rock lobster tail meat (flesh)???

Answer:
It depends where the lobster is in its moult cycle. The average water content of the tail muscle of an intermoult American lobster is about 75%.
Do lobsters have pearls? I found one inside a lobster claw about the size of a dime. The flesh had grown around the object and you could see a damage spot on the outside of the claw.

Answer:
No, lobsters do not have pearls. What you found could be some mineralized tissue or scaring from an injury. It could also be a foreign object which had punctured the claw and broken off in it and then the area of the claw healed around the object.
I own a restaurant and have a lobster tank.It seems that every time I put Lobsters in my tank, by the next morning half of them are dead. Is their a proper way to put a live lobster in a tank, … (more)

Full Question:
I own a restaurant and have a lobster tank.It seems that every time I put Lobsters in my tank, by the next morning half of them are dead. Is their a proper way to put a live lobster in a tank, someone told me you should submerge them gently into the tank,allowing them to adjust.We have just been gently dropping them in.

Answer:
A water quality issue would be suspected here and not the way the lobsters are being placed in the tank. It could be as simple as oxygen, temperature, or salinity, or more complex as ammonia/nitrite/nitrate, toxin, pH, etc… Check on the salinity (28-35 ppt) and dissolved oxygen content (4-9.5 ppm) first. Also lobster are best kept at temperatures from 3-10 degrees Celsius, a pH between 7-9 and ammonia of less than 10 ppm.
Do you think that there are extremely large lobsters on the ocean floor that have been fortunate enough not to be caught and that are now too large to be caught in commercial lobster traps? How many and how big?

Answer:
There have been a few lobsters of over 40 lbs (18 kg) landed in commercial traps. Lobsters, unlike snow crabs for example, do not have a terminal moult. Therefore, they could in theory grow ad infinitum. Because the entrance hoops on commercial size are of a specific size, it is possible that lobsters could eventually reach a size that would prevent them from entering a commercial trap. So there could be even bigger lobsters out there. But there is no way for us to find out how many and how big.
Do lobsters require a ph level?

Answer:
Lobster can survive at a pH from 5-9. However, they generally live in water at a pH of 7.5-8.4 which is what is recommend for holding live lobster for any length of time.
We have some crayfish in a tank in our classroom and have had a few molt. Our question is: How long does it take for the new exoskeleton to harden?

Answer:
Crayfish’s exoskeleton typically harden up shortly after moulting, and t it should be back to normal within a few days only. This likely depends on several factors, ie. species, size, water temperature, diet, etc…
what are the main differences between the wooden traps that used to be used and the wire ones used today are there any benifits

Answer:
Most fisherman on PEI are using wooden traps. Wire traps have been tried and apparently, they didn’t perform as well as the traditional wooden ones. I believe the wire traps will usually out-lived the wooden ones. Not sure about costs, but would expect the wire traps to be more expensive to build.
Hi guys. Really enjoyed our visit with you last week. Another question from staff. We were told that lobsters won’t molt while they are banded. Do we know if this is true?

Answer:
Not true; lobsters will moult when banded. This is something we’ve actually experienced here more than once!

moulted lobster

Hello. I’m in a discussion online at the moment with someone who claimed that lobsters lose small stones in their ears when they moult, and that their sense of balance goes as well. To remedy this, they apparently stuff sand into … (more)

Full Question:
Hello. I’m in a discussion online at the moment with someone who claimed that lobsters lose small stones in their ears when they moult, and that their sense of balance goes as well. To remedy this, they apparently stuff sand into their ears, which accumulates into new stones. Is this true? This person also wondered how lobsters “know” to do this- is it behaviour they copy from other lobsters, or is it inherent? Anyway, any information you can give me would be appreciated.

Answer:
Unfortunately, lobsters don’t accumulate and lose stones from their ears. However, they do with their stomachs. As they get ready to moult, mineral components of the old/existing shell are redistributed into large gastroliths (discoid calcareous nodules) on either side of the stomach wall. When moulting, the cuticular lining of the digestive system is shed resulting in the gastroliths falling into the stomach and being dissolved by the digestive fluids, and therefore, help mineralise the new and soft shell.
I live in the Sierra Mountains in California, very dry right now. There is a large pond and the only standing water within the area. We found a very large, fresh, lobster tail. The color is dark brown and the … (more)

Full Question:
I live in the Sierra Mountains in California, very dry right now. There is a large pond and the only standing water within the area. We found a very large, fresh, lobster tail. The color is dark brown and the (exoskeleton ?)is covered with some sort of membrane, clear. It does not appear to have been detached from anything, yet one end is a bit larger than the other and both ends appear to have had some sort of closure. The strange thing is that it is here at all, away from any salt water. Is there perhaps some sort of crustacean related to a lobster or crawfish that could be this large? It measures about a foot in length and the (exoskeleton ?) is made up of a series of leathery bands joined together. The bands are pliable yet firm.They come to en end at what I suppose to be the underbelly with rounded ends. It reminds me of an extremely large sow bug. Any ideas?

Answer:
I think we really need to see a picture. But I am almost certain it is not a crustacean because it would not be “full of entrails”. The exoskeleton covered with a clear membrane, leathery bands and being a foot long (!) also don’t sound like a lobster/crustacean. My first thought when reading this it that it was part of an armadillo, or something like that. But we definitely need a picture. Please send us a picture of what you had found and we would be more than happy to provide you with more information at that time.

Is a lobster an insect?

Answer:
Lobsters, like other crustaceans, insects or spiders, are arthropods. Which means that they are invertebrate that have a segmented body and jointed legs. They also have an exoskeleton that they shed (molt) at intervals. Both lobsters and insect are in the Arthropoda phylum, but lobsters are in the class of Crustacea while insects are in the Insecta class. So no, a lobster is not an insect, but it is very similar to one in many ways!

Is there a fresh water lobster?

Answer:
The freshwater lobster or crayfish can be found all over the world. Although they normally do not grow as large as “saltwater” lobsters there is a species in Tasmania called the Giant Freshwater Lobster (Astacapsis gouldi) which can grow up to 1 metre in length. It is one of the largest freshwater invertebrates in the world and is only found in rivers of northern Tasmania.

Is there an insect that looks like a lobster?

Answer:
The closest “insect” in appearance to a lobster is the scorpion. If you would like more information you could “search” the web by using the word chelicerate.

What three-letter word means female lobster?

Answer:
A three letter word that could be used to describe a female lobster is a “hen”.

Is the lobster in the cochroach family?

Answer:
Lobsters, like other crustaceans, insects or spiders, are arthropod, which means that they are invertebrates that have a segmented body and jointed legs. They also have an exoskeleton that they shed (molt) at intervals. Both lobsters and cockroaches are in the Phylum Arthropoda, but lobsters are in the Class Crustacea while cockroaches are in the Class Insecta. So no, a lobster is not an insect, but it is very similar to one in many ways!

What is V-notching?

Answer:
V-notching is a fishery management practice used as a conservation method, and consists of marking berried female lobsters by punching a ‘V-shaped’ notch in the tail of the animal before returning it to sea water. This identifies the lobster as a “proven” broodstock and will protect it next time it is caught, even if the eggs are gone. It is illegal for fishermen to land a berried female lobster.
Click the image below for a larger picture

V-notched Female

Why don’t lobstermen use wooden pegs anymore?

Answer:
Years ago, lobstermen used wooden or plastic pegs inserted into the base of the claws to prevent lobsters from opening them. When they did so, they broke the protective skin or integument of the lobster. Disease-causing bacteria could attack the lobster through this lesion.

Why are lobsters banded?

Answer:
Crowded into tight quarters, lobsters become especially cannibalistic, which is why they must be banded in a lobster pound or store displays. Lobster bands are small and strong. Lobster harvesters use a special tool that resembles a pair of pliers to open the rubber band to slip it over the lobster’s claw.
Click the image below for a larger picture

Claw Bands

Can you eat lobster when there is a shellfish ban?

Answer:
Yes, you can. Unlike mussels, oysters and clams, lobsters are not “filter feeders.” They do not pump sea water and any pollution that the water might carry through their bodies. Toxins in the water do not concentrate in their flesh.

Can lobsters swim?

Answer:
Adult lobsters do not swim. They crawl by using their walking legs and by contracting and retracting their tail. However, lobster larvae that have not settled to the bottom yet float through the ocean with the water current. As they grow older they swim with the use of their swimmerettes and walking legs. Once they reach the bottom they remain there for good.

What’s the largest lobster ever caught?

Answer:
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest recorded North American lobster ever caught weighed 20.13 kg and was between 91 cm to 121 cm long. It was caught in 1977 off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada.

What are some other names for lobsters?

Answer:
Homarus americanus, The American Lobster, is also known as the Canadian lobster, the Maine lobster, or the North Atlantic lobster.

Habitat Habitat (13)
What type of bottom material do lobsters prefer??

Answer:
Lobsters prefer rocky bottoms with lots of algae. This gives them lots of places to hide and the algae attracts much of the food they would eat. They can also be found in sandy or muddy bottom locations but this is not preferred as it provides little shelter from predators.
What temperature do Homarus americanus live at?

Answer:
Optimum temperature for lobster is from about 3-10 degrees Celsius but they can survive in water ranging from minus one too plus thirty degrees Celsius.
I was wandering if you could keep a Maine lobster as a pet. in a salt water tank.

Answer:
Yes, you can. Just need to consider some basic water quality parameters, diet, and moult….
What range of salinity is safe for our lobsters??

Answer:
Salinity range- 29-35ppt normally. As low as 11 in cold water and upper tolerance of 45ppt

Hi, I live in New Jersey. We live on a fresh water lake. I was working on my dock and saw what looked like a small lobster in the shallows. It was about 3-4 inches in length and appeared to … (more)

Full Question:
Hi, I live in New Jersey. We live on a fresh water lake. I was working on my dock and saw what looked like a small lobster in the shallows. It was about 3-4 inches in length and appeared to have at least one large claw. It was larger than crawfish that I have seen. Could this be a fresh water lobster or something else?

Answer:
What you are describing is a crayfish (or crawfish, depending where you’re from). Crayfish are more or less the freshwater equivalent of lobsters and are found just about anywhere in the world. Although they normally do not grow as large as “saltwater” lobsters there is a species in Tasmania called the Giant Freshwater Lobster (Astacapsis gouldi) which can grow up to 1 metre in length. It is one of the largest freshwater invertebrates in the world and is only found in rivers of northern Tasmania.

What’s the lobsters role in the ecosystem?

Answer:
This is definitely a “big picture” question and may be beyond on the scope of a simple answer. However, the lobster plays an integral part in the ecosystem by contributing as a filter feeder during it’s planktonic stage and as an opportunist/predator during it’s benthic stage. The lobster also contributes as a food source for many species in the marine environment as well as a food source for humans. Therefore, the lobster’s role in the ecosystem is quite broad and depends on how you want to look at it.

Is water pollution a major problem for lobster life? If so, how?

Answer:
Unlike mussels, oysters and clams, lobsters are not “filter feeders.” They do not pump sea water and any pollution that the water might carry through their bodies. They do however; eat animals that are filter feeders so they could accumulate some toxins from them. Water pollution can take many forms, and one of them occurs when many bacteria are growing at the bottom of the ocean. These bacteria can use up a lot of the oxygen present in the water, thus reducing the amount of oxygen available for lobsters to survive. Also, lobster larvae can be very susceptible to different toxins present at the surface of the water, as the larvae will remain at the surface for approximately 1 month after they hatch, before heading to the bottom of the ocean, where they will stay for the remainder of their life. Although lobsters can seem very hardy and tolerant of many environment conditions, they can suffer from bad water quality and water pollution like most aquatic animals.

Will a 6lb female lobster & a 6lb male lobster get along in an aquarium, approx. 4 feet long by 20″ wide? Do lobsters in captivity have to go through the molting process or can they be kept at a … (more)

Full Question:
Will a 6lb female lobster & a 6lb male lobster get along in an aquarium, approx. 4 feet long by 20″ wide? Do lobsters in captivity have to go through the molting process or can they be kept at a certain temperature in order to live?

Answer:
A rule of thumb used by industry is 1-2 gallon of water (4-8 L) per lb of lobster. So in this case, you would need to have at least 12 gallons. Another rule of thumb used in the industry for holding live lobster is 1 square-foot of bottom space per lb of lobster. In this case, you would need 12 square-ft. I’m not sure if your tank would be adequate to hold two very large lobsters, even if the water exchange was high enough to support live (high dissolved O2 and low metabolic wastes). Lobsters can survive very long without a need to molting if their metabolism is slowed down (cold environment, limited diet). But even when some of the environmental cues are controlled for, they may still molt simply due to the increase photoperiod in the summer.

Can a lobster be kept alive in fresh water with ice?

Answer:
No. Fresh water is lethal to a lobster. The animal has salty blood and tissue, which require a seawater environment for survival.

How long can a lobster live out of water?

Answer:
Several days if kept in a cool, moist environment. The lobster is a gill-breather, and moisture is essential to survival.

Where do lobsters live?

Answer:
Small lobsters, less than 25mm carapace length (CL), hide in and about sea weeds and rocky habitat that provide adequate food and shelter from predators. Adolescent lobsters 37mm to 60mm CL dominate coastal habitats and offshore areas. They may exhibit minimal migratory behavior. Larger, more mobile, adult lobsters may inhabit deeper waters and may return seasonally to shallow warmer waters.

Where are lobsters caught?

Answer:
The American Lobster is found on the east coast of North America, from Newfoundland to North Carolina. In 2003, more than 52,000 metric tonnes of lobsters were landed in Canada. In comparison, 32,000 metric tonnes were landed in the USA in 2003, and 78% of these landings were in Maine.

What do Lobsters Eat?

Answer:
While the lobster has been called a scavenger, it actually prefers fresh food, though a whiff of lobster bait might belie that fact. Its diet typically consists of crabs, clams, mussels, worms, and an occasional sea urchin or slow-witted flounder, and will vary depending on what type of prey is available. A lobster may eat up to 100 different kinds of animals, and occasionally eat some plants as well. An opportunist, a lobster will also eat another lobster if given the chance. Captive lobsters become especially cannibalistic, which is why they must be banded or separated in individual compartments in a lobster pound. However, cannibalism has not been observed in the wild. Because lobsters eat their molts, it is dangerous to make this inference based on gut content analysis.

Harvesting/Traps/Bait Harvesting/Traps/Bait (14)
The old wooden lobster traps, Nova Scotia south shore, had wooden”bows” on each end and usually two between. The bows ends were inserted into holes in a flat piece on the bottom of the trap. We are trying … (more)

Full Question:
The old wooden lobster traps, Nova Scotia south shore, had wooden”bows” on each end and usually two between. The bows ends were inserted into holes in a flat piece on the bottom of the trap. We are trying to find the name of this flat piece across the bottom. Thanks for any response.

Answer:
This flat piece across the bottom is known as a ‘Sill”
How many days should you leave a pot down for?

Answer:
In Canada, most fishermen use 1-2 soak days. In the USA, it can be more like 1-7 days. It depends on the number of traps, size of efficiency of the boat, and of course, density of lobsters at the bottom.

What are the best live baits you can use in a lobster pot? It is my first time putting down my pots.

Answer:
There is really no best bait. Bait preference is mostly fisherman-based, and not lobster-based! We recommend that you try different baits and to avoid location biases you should try different baits fishing in adjacent pots.
Why is lobster packed in a can and then frozen? Does it go through the regular canning heating process?

Answer:
Lobster meat does not go through the thermal processing which makes it sterile and shelf stable, therefore it is still a fresh product that must be frozen for preservation.

My father is a lobster fisherman out of LFA 26A. In recent years the lobster stocks have been on a decline in our area and a rise in LFA 24. My dad fishes out of Souris and used to be … (more)

Full Question:
My father is a lobster fisherman out of LFA 26A. In recent years the lobster stocks have been on a decline in our area and a rise in LFA 24. My dad fishes out of Souris and used to be able to catch 2500-3000 pounds but now can’t do that, while North Lake fishermen who are just up the shore and around East Point can land 2500-3000. My question is what is your reasoning on the lobster decline and do you think the lobsters will return to Souris and surrounding ports?A

Answer:
Unfortunately, the AVC Lobster Science Centre doesn’t study lobster stock abundance or decline as this is more of the Federal Department of Fisheries & Oceans’ mandate. Historical landings show that lobster stocks have always fluctuated over time. Hopefully, science and in particular information on lobster recruitment and from tagging studies will be able to follow lobster stocks in the wild and perhaps help predicting any further decline or return to more abundant levels.

Where do the lobsters’s go once they are caught and are going to be eaten? What process do they go through?

Answer:
On average, nearly half of the Canadian landings are transformed into processed products, while the rest are destined to be sold alive. Most often, fishers will sell their daily catch to buyers situated at the wharves. These buyers can be independent dealers or representatives of other seafood companies. The buyers will either transport the live lobsters directly to the processing plant or to a holding facility; this transfer usually occurs within one to five days post-capture. If it is decided to keep the lobsters for a few days, they will either be kept in wooden crates and floated directly at the wharf, or stored in ‘lobster cars’, which are large floating boxes also located at the wharf. Lobsters can either be loose in the cars, or stored in crates within the lobster car. To supply the market with a live product year-round, some of the processing plants and holding facilities will keep a proportion of live lobsters in captivity for various periods, ranging from a few days to several months.

How long should lobsters be kept in quarentine when moving between different bodies of water such as the Atlantic and Bras d’Or Lakes? (from Atlantic to Bras d’Or)

Answer:
We are not sure if quarantine is even required although one of our scientists had to get an authorization to bring in lobsters from PEI to NS for his experiment. If permits/quarantines are needed, then you should probably start by contacting Roland Cusak, provincial fish vet in NS and see what the province has in place for regulation.

What is the deepest water you can find lobster in the Atlantic Ocean? If Lobsters are found at 2000 fathoms can they be retrieved alive using pots? I worked on a research vessel where we have a camera station and … (more)

Full Question:
What is the deepest water you can find lobster in the Atlantic Ocean? If Lobsters are found at 2000 fathoms can they be retrieved alive using pots? I worked on a research vessel where we have a camera station and took pictures of lobsters located at 2000 fathoms.

Answer:
2000 fathoms is well outside our practical experience with harvesting lobsters. This represents 3,657 meters, or roughly 366 atmospheres of pressure. That would be a very long trap line! I suspect that lobsters could be harvested from this debth as long as they are pulled up through the decreasing pressure at a certain rate to allow for acclimation at the decreased pressures. Lobsters do not have air bladders like many fish that need them for buoyancy, so the effects of decreased pressure would be due to the changes in the dissolved gases in their blood as they are depressurized during the ascent. If pulled up through the depths at a slow enough rates to keep gas bubbles from forming in the lobster’s blood, I see no reason why lobsters which were extracted from 2000 fathoms should not be able to survive at the sea surface. However, one must be able to calculate the rate at which you can pull lobsters up from that depth first. This is speculation on my part. You may want to speak to someone who has more experience and knowledge with blood gas saturations at varying depths and pressures.

What are the parts of a lobster trap?

Answer:
Traps or pots were originally make of wood, typically oak. Wire mesh traps have replaced the wooden traps for the most part. Lobster enter through the net “door” to go after the bait in a bait bag placed in the “kitchen”. When it tries to exit it lands in the “parlor”. Some traps have more than one kitchen and parlor. Traps are required to have an escape vent that is large enough to let all but the legal size lobsters escape. Traps also are equipped with runners that help prevent legs, claws and antennae from being pinched between the bottom of the trap and the boat when the traps are hauled.
Click the image below for a larger picture

Lobster Trap

Why aren’t more lobsters raised through aquaculture?

Answer:
Many sea creatures, including salmon, oysters, and mussels, are raised successfully through sea farming or aquaculture. Since lobsters command such a high price at the market, you would think there would be massive aquaculture operations to raise them. Lobsters are not easy to raise in captivity, and as yet no one has made a profit from it. Experiments have been conducted for years trying to find an economic way to raise them without much success. Two problems repeatedly crop up: Lobsters in close quarters will eat each other. When lobsters are raised in captivity, they are kept in large vats as larvae. Whirlpool currents keep the baby lobsters spinning beyond each other’s reach. When they settle to the bottom, they must be kept in individual pens and moved to ever larger enclosures as they grow. Lobsters grow very slowly, taking an average of 5-7 years to reach market size. That’s a long time to feed and maintain them. They can grow faster in warmer water, but it still takes several years to reach market size. Factor in food costs (lobsters can be picky eaters in captivity), heating the water to make them grow faster, and treating disease, and it’s easy to see why raising a lobster to adulthood is expensive. Another approach to lobster aquaculture has been to keep them captive only from egg to hatching to the fourth or fifth stages when they start to settle to the bottom. Hatchery operators then free the baby lobsters into the ocean and hope that they survive long enough to join the lobster fishery as market-size catch.

What are some of the more unusual types of bait tried?

Answer:
After WW II, the LobLure Corporation tried to find a fool-proof type of artificial bait. Some of their unusual concoctions ranged from a bait bag that blinked like an electric light to cloth soaked in fish oil, pepsi-cola can or white coffee mugs. For more information please see this Lobster Bait Fact Sheet.

Is it possible to raise lobsters on a commercial basis?

Answer:
Not yet, but research is underway to develop rearing techniques and to assess the economic feasibility of rearing the American lobster commercially. In the opinion of many scientists working with the American lobster, commercial aquaculture can be achieved in the near future with a sufficient level of effort. Future projections for the culture of the spiny lobster (found in the Carribean, California, Florida, Australia and South Africa) are not, however, optimistic. Unlike the American lobster which has a relatively short larval life (several weeks), the spiny lobster has a larval life of about six or seven months. The technical difficulties presented by the fragile, demanding requirements of the early life stages discount the use of traditional hatchery methods with any degree of success or practicality.

Can you tell how old a lobster is?

Answer:
It is difficult to tell the exact age of a lobster because it sheds it shell regularly, removing most of the evidence of age. It is believed that a 1/2 kg lobster is between 5 and 7 years old. The warmer the ocean temperatures, the more often lobsters molt and increase in size.

Where are lobsters harvested?

Answer:
The North American Lobster is harvested from a wild resource in the ocean waters along the northeast Atlantic Coast of Canada and the United States, from Newfoundland to North Carolina.

Life Cycle & Reproduction Life Cycle & Reproduction (21)
Describe the methods of captive breeding used for lobster and what are the results?

Answer:
Unfortunately, we are not involved in breeding lobster and therefore, we have no expertise in that field. You can contact a lobster hatchery such as Homarus (martin@mfu-upm.com) , the Zone C hatchery in Maine (www.penobscoteast.org/lobster_hatchery.asp) or even the National Lobster Hatchery (www.nationallobsterhatchery.co.uk).
Can lobsters be raised in hatcheries?

Answer:
Yes lobster can be raised in a hatchery. Homarus Inc. http://www.homarus.ca/ would be a good site to look at.
my pet red lobster has just molted. he lost an arm in the process but the other arm is still attached but looks dead. should I remove the dead looking arm?

Answer:
I would assume by pet red lobster, that you are referring to a freshwater crayfish here. I can only assume that the lost ‘arm’ will eventually grow back if the crayfish is healthy. As for the dead looking appendage, I would also think that it should eventually fall off on its own (if truly ‘dead’) and then grow back. I’m not sure if I would pull it off on purpose or not.
Is a lobster that contains a reduced amount of meat within the shell pre or post molt?

Answer:
It is post-molt. This occurs because after a lobster molts there is a larger quantity of water inside them. When they are cooked this water is evaporated and therefore makes the meat appear shrivelled up.
You explained how the lobster molts, but I am puzzled how they would be able to get their claws out of their old shells which can be extremely thick compared to their back side.

Answer:
As lobsters get closer to the molt, they dehydrate themselves and a proportion of their blood is withdrawn from the appendages, including the claws, to make them smaller. It is reported that a 30 to 60% loss of tissue mass occurs in the claws, facilitating the withdrawal of the large portion of the claw through the smaller upper leg portion through which it must pass.

I have an crayfish as a pet and on October 22, 2005 it molted. I understand that they stop eating a few days before molting, but my crayfish will not eat after it molted, I mean its stays in the … (more)

Full Question:
I have an crayfish as a pet and on October 22, 2005 it molted. I understand that they stop eating a few days before molting, but my crayfish will not eat after it molted, I mean its stays in the corner. Is this normal? I have feed it shrimp pellets but it will not even eat this so I am wondering do they stop eating for a few days after they molt because they are weak?

Answer:
When lobsters, and I would anticipate crayfish too, molt they will usually hide for a few days as a survival mechanism. But to make sure the growth is maximized with each molt, the crayfish must have proper nutrition soon after the molt. And apparently, it is not uncommon for them to eat their old shell in an attempt to gain back as much minerals as possible that was lost in the old carapace. I would think that once the crayfish has regained enough strength in its new shell, it will start foraging again. Therefore, I would continue to offer food, while making sure not to overwhelm the filter with too much uneaten food in tank which could result in deteriorating water quality.

Can you tell me how a lobster acquires its food? and can you tell me the parental care of a lobster?

Answer:
While the American lobster has been called a scavenger, it actually prefers fresh food, though a whiff of lobster bait might belie that fact. Its diet typically consists of crabs, clams, mussels, worms, and an occasional sea urchin or slow-witted flounder, and will very depending on what type of prey is available. A lobster may eat up to 100 different kinds of animals, and occasionally eat some plants as well. An opportunist, a lobster will also eat another lobster if given the chance. Captive lobsters become especially cannibalistic, which is why they must be banded or separated in individual compartments in a lobster pound. However, cannibalism has not been observed in the wild. Because lobsters eat their molts, it is dangerous to make this inference based on gut content analysis. The female lobster carries the eggs inside for 9 to 12 months and then for another 9 to 12 months externally attached to the swimmerettes under her tail. (Berried females carry thousands of eggs attached to their swimmerettes.) Depending on water temperatures, the eggs will remain attached for about a year on average. When the eggs hatch, the larvae will float near the surface for 4 to 6 weeks. The few that survive will settle to the bottom and continue to develop as baby lobsters. From every 50,000 eggs only 2 lobsters are expected to survive to legal size.

Do lobsters mate with compassion or do they pinch?

Answer:
Lobsters only mate after the female has molted and is in the soft-shell state. So I hope they show compassion, as a pinch could cause some serious damage to the female!!

Is it true that lobsters have one mate for life? If so do you know where I can obtain this information to be printed out?

Answer:
In contrast to many crustaceans, lobsters are long lived and over the course of a lifetime, a female will mate with one male per breeding season. This does not mean that she will mate with the same male as the female will choose the most dominant male each time she chooses to mate.

When do lobster females (average carapace length) stop being reproductively active? How important are large males to large females during mating?

Answer:
As far as I know, I don’t believe lobsters eventually reach a ‘no-longer-reproductive’ stage. Just like they don’t have a terminal molt (after which they never molt again). I could be wrong, but I have never seen any paper about reaching a non-sexual status. Large male lobsters are important as female lobsters will only mate with males who are as large or larger then they are.

A client of mine has a lobster (not sure what type!) with “eggs on the underside”. Does the male look after the eggs? Will the owners have a tank full of baby lobsters?

Answer:
It is unlikely that your client has an American lobster, which is the species that the AVC Lobster Science Centre has expertise in. However, I would expect that the same goes for the European or Norwegian lobsters. The extruded eggs are cared for only by the female lobster; the care consists mostly of physical protection and insuring adequate oxygenation by beating the pleopods where the eggs are attached, thus increasing the water flow around the eggs. Neither female nor male lobsters look after the ‘babies’ once they’re hatched. In the American lobster, the extruded eggs will stay attached to the ventral surface of the tail for several months, sometime as long as 11 months. I would expect that your client will likely have a few (1000’s) babies if the eggs are fertilized, viable and the conditions are right for the female to release them. I am unsure on the likelihood of survival though; newly hatched lobster larvae will go up the water column and stay at/near the surface for a few weeks before heading back down to seek shelter. If larvae and the adult lobster are in the same tank, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a certain degree of cannibalism.

What is the evolutionary pattern of the common lobster? When did they evolve and from what type of species? What conditions have made the lobster change into the way that it is now from its start(as far as physical and … (more)

Full Question:
What is the evolutionary pattern of the common lobster? When did they evolve and from what type of species? What conditions have made the lobster change into the way that it is now from its start(as far as physical and possibly mental conditions in which the change has been benificial to the species darwins teachings of “survival of the fittest”-due to the change)?

Answer:
Not a lot is known in terms of how lobsters have evolved thru the years. Actually, clawed lobsters have received little or no attention with regard to diversity through time. According to classical Darwinian Theory of evolution, physical traits are inherited through genetics. However, scientists believe for example, that the development of one of the two lobster claws into a much bigger and stronger ‘crusher’ claw is likely determined by the environment and not genetics (baby lobsters have equal sized caws). Perhaps the modification of the first pair of legs into the highly specialized claws found on the American lobster compared to the clawless spiny and rock lobsters is also due to the environment and not genetics? As for mental evolution, ???… A review paper on lobster evolution thru time was recently published: Tshudy D. 2003. Clawed lobster (Nephropidae) diversity across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. J of Crustacean Biology 23(1): 178-86.

If a female lobster for some reason was mutated and did not have any swimmerets how would the eggs be fertilized? Is there another way or would the lobster be unable to reproduce? What are common contaminants that are present … (more)

Full Question:
If a female lobster for some reason was mutated and did not have any swimmerets how would the eggs be fertilized? Is there another way or would the lobster be unable to reproduce? What are common contaminants that are present in lobster habitats that could cause the lobster to become mutated in any way? What are the resulted mutations? In what way do they affect their daily lives?

Answer:
First of all, I have never seen or heard of mutated lobsters. One could hypothesize that perhaps some of the common mutagenic or teratogenic compounds, drugs and chemicals could cause malformation of the lobster larvae? Usually, there must be exposure to a teratogenic or mutagenic agent during the actual formation of an organ to have a gross defect involving the organ undergoing formation at that time. Since organ formation only starts once the eggs are extruded and fertilized, can there still be substantial exposure to detrimental agents? I don’t know. I don’t know if a female lobster with deformed or no swimmeret could successfully reproduce. The swimmerets are not directly involved in the egg fertilization process. However, they are necessary as they contain glands that produce the ‘glue’ needed to attached the fertilized eggs on the ventral surface of the female lobster’s tail. Without that adhesive or cement, the eggs would be lost and perhaps end up in less than optimum conditions resulting in their death.

Why do lobstermen release a berried female?

Answer:
Because the “berries” are the eggs and females with eggs are released so that the eggs can hatch. The eggs spend at least ten months on the female. The colder the water, the longer the eggs take to hatch.
Click the image below for a larger picture

Berried Female

I’ve heard that lobsters molt, but I’ve never seen a cast-off shell. Why?

Answer:
After molting, lobsters will eat voraciously, often devouring their own recently vacated shells. This replenishment of lost calcium hastens the hardening of the new shell which takes about 14-30 days from the actual loss of the old shell.

Do many young lobsters survive to old age?

Answer:
Lobster babies swim at the water surface for 25 days. Only one percent make it to the bottom. These young lobsters shed their shells about ten times in their first year. A near-shore lobster has a 65 – 90% chance of ending up on someone’s dinner plate.

Do lobsters lay eggs?

Answer:
A freshly laid lobster egg is the size of the head of a pin (1.5mm). A 1/2kg female lobster usually carries approximately 8000 eggs. A 4kg female may carry more than 100,000 eggs. The female lobster carries the eggs inside for 9 to 12 months and then for another 9 to 12 months externally attached to the swimmerettes under her tail. When the eggs hatch, the larvae will float near the surface for 4 to 6 weeks. The few that survive will settle to the bottom and continue to develop as baby lobsters. From every 50,000 eggs only 2 lobsters are expected to survive to legal size.
Click the image below for a larger picture

Life Cycle

When do lobsters mate?

Answer:
A female lobster mates when she is in the soft-shell state right after she has molted. Female lobsters can carry live sperm for up to two years. At any time she may decide to fertilize her 3,000-75,000 eggs. By law, a female lobster carrying eggs must be thrown back if it is caught.

Do lobster larva molt?

Answer:
Lobster embryo will molt about six times while still in the egg. After they are released from the mother’s swimmerettes and hatch, the larva will float freely in the water column and molt several more times before taking the form that we recognize as a lobster. At this point they may be only 6mm in length.

What is a “berried” female?

Answer:
Berried females carry thousands of eggs attached to their swimmerettes. Depending on water temperatures, the eggs will remain attached for about a year on average. Only 0.1% of the prelarva will survive over six weeks after being released at hatching.

Click the image below for a larger picture