Marine crustacean farming is dominated by the shrimp species followed by crab culture.
In India, the exclusive marine production of shrimps is not in vogue. However, in
recent past lobster has turned out to be a potential candidate for mariculture.
India earned Rs. 71.56 crores through export of lobster, mostly to Southeast Asian
countries and Japan during 2005-06. Like crab farming lobster culture can either
be either “farming” or “fattening” operations. Farming is
essentially a grow-out operation in which the juveniles are grown for several months
until they attain marketable size. Fattening, of the other hand, refers to short
duration culture of undersized lobsters to a specific acceptable size and hence
command better price.
Farming is carried out under closed-cycle and controlled aquaculture. In the past
land based farming of lobsters has been severely hampered due to the lack of suitable
technology and production method and only cage culture were found profitable. However,
even in cage farming there are several impediments affecting the economic profitability
such as cannibalism, need of heated water, lack of high quality dry feed, high labour
cost and high investment costs. Asian countries are the forerunners in lobster farming
especially Philippines and Singapore. India’s contribution to marine crustacean
culture in general and lobster farming in particular is meager, however there is
immense potential for states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka
to take up lobster farming in a large way.