Why not breed crabs and lobsters?

I’m watching one of those Discovery shows right now about guys catching lobsters in the North Atlantic and my girlfriend turned to me and asked me why they just can’t farm them instead of risking so much to go and catch them. I honestly don’t even have an educated guess on this kind of thing. It doesn’t seem to be a space issue, since lots of them seem to be able to be caught in a single trap, and it doesn’t seem to be a “can’t breed in captivity” thing since they’re really just giant bugs anyway, so why don’t we have giant crab and lobster farms somewhere?

I don’t know about the crabs, but lobsters take a decade or so to reach market size. That tends to make them not worth breeding - it takes too long to make a return on your investment. Also unless I’m mistakes both crabs and lobsters have a juvenile stage in which they are essentially plankton, which makes them hard to raise in captivity. And lobsters are territorial and need sizeable amounts of space if you don’t want them to eat each other. Those rubberbands on the claws of supermarket lobsters aren’t just to protect the hands of the merchant - they also keep down the rate of cannibalism.

Norway is trying it.

I know that UC Davis’ Bodega Bay Marine Laboratory was also working on lobster culture back in…1990?..when I visited while taking ichthyology.

  • Tamerlane

In the Chesapeake area they are investigating whether it may be feasible to hatch crabs in Nurseries and release the juveniles into the wild like they do with species of game fish now. Which in turn leads me to believe that there are no crab farms there - I imagine that the scale – compared to the wild crab harvest would make such a thing difficult