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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Move to conserve lobster in the Gulf of Mannar

Five lakh larvae of `Panulirus Homarus,' a spiny lobster species, reared by the Fisheries College and Research Institute (FCRI), a constituent college of Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, were sea ranched into the Gulf of Mannar at Tuticorin on 26th January.

Dr.V.K. Venkataramani, Dean, FCRI, said "sea ranching was carried out as part of a Centre-funded research project titled `Conservation of Lobster in the Gulf of Mannar', since it's the most effective solution for enhancing the spiny lobster stock. Spiny lobster resources were fast depleting in the Gulf of Mannar region owing to unscientific fishing techniques.

According to him, lobster catch in Tuticorin coast fell to 41 tonnes in 2004 from 169 tonnes recorded in 2002.

On the breeding techniques adopted by the institute, Dr. Venkataramani said that a mother lobster weighed 600 grams and a male lobster weighed 700 grams, were allowed to bred in a specially made Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) tank of 1,000 litre capacity at the Marine Biological Laboratory at the institute.

A team of scientists at the institute comprising C.B.T. Rajagopalasamy, B. Srikrishnadhas and T. Vaitheeswaran, monitored the growth of the newly bred larve, till it reached 3 mm under laboratory conditions, before sea ranching it.

Dr. Venkataramani appealed to the fishermen to release back the egg bearing lobsters caught in the `lobster nets' or `trawl nets', into the sea, to enhance the production of lobsters.

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