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Lobster Ranching

maximize lobster production through domestication
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Great advances in food production occur following domestication of species, because once you've got a captive breeding stock you can manipulate the species through selective breeding. The domestication of the lobster is an idea whose time has come.

Construct a small underwater house to live in on the sea floor (the ranch house), put up a lobster-repelling circumference fence, stock the area inside the fence with lobsters and you're in business. An energetic breeding program on your brood stock would rapidly increase lobster size and operating revenues. Not only do bigger lobsters weigh more, they also fetch a higher price by weight.

Compared to dry-land ranching, lobster ranching would be a breeze. No tornadoes or flash floods, no marauding cattle thieves. Lobster growth hormone therapy should yield interesting results as well. The 200 lb lobster!

Mungo, Mar 10 2004

Cowtown http://www.asklyric...owtown_LYRICS/93488
[Worldgineer, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Not too original this idea is. Possibly boiled, not baked. http://www.sanpedro...ld/lobsterfarm.html
[Native Dancer, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

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       BP - you'd have to poach off the ocean floor, meaning dropping a trap within the confines of the ranch. Easy to see while you're sitting on the porch of the ranch house. As for seasonal migration, you just round 'em up and ride 'em out, Chisholm trail style. That's why it's ranching, as opposed to farming.
Mungo, Mar 10 2004
  

       The octopi are going to love you....I've seen one that was easily 16" in head diameter squeeze himself through a 2"x4" wire mesh hole and feast to his hearts content inside the trap....then squeeze back out and go home.   

       [Lobster growth hormone therapy] ? I think you're pulling one of my multiple sets of lobster legs.
normzone, Mar 10 2004
  

       (suddenly quite curious of how [norm] found himself in a position to observe this, and how the octopus squeezed himself out with a belly full of lobster)
Worldgineer, Mar 10 2004
  

       This doesn't seem very difficult at all, though it would probably be a lot easier if you set up a (few) giant tank(s) indoors somewhere, and not worry about poachers, lobstermen, and octopi.
yabba do yabba dabba, Mar 10 2004
  

       [Worldgineer] I was at 40 foot on a small reef a quarter mile offshore of Blacks Beach, just north of La Jolla , California.   

       At that depth, if you're conservative in your movement, your air will last a long time.   

       When I first found him (her?) in the lobster trap, he was in full feast mode, with only two legs hanging outside the trap. I couldn't resist - I swam up and tickled his legs.   

       He yanked them inside the cage, changed color, and swelled up as big and threatening as he could be - amusing, since he was trapped inside a cage.   

       I just moved away and came back and checked on him every few minutes. Octopi can squeeze themselves through openings far smaller than their body.
normzone, Mar 10 2004
  

       Yeah. I've heard that if they can get their beak (the only part of them that's actually solid) through a crevice, then the rest of them can follow.
lostdog, Mar 10 2004
  

       And I heard of an octopus in captivity that would ooze out of his aquarium at night, splooch acrooss the floor, up and into a second aquarium, eat the fish then splooch back. Someone set up a video camera and caught him red-handed. I don't think I'm making that up.
lintkeeper2, Mar 10 2004
  

       I am unaware of ongoing industrial scale lobster farming. Growing eggs to some scale and then releasing them, perhaps. But a cradle to grave lobster operation that is larger than the lab? I don't think so. To riposte a handful of the objections thus far;   

       Boring work - if you are uninterested in marine biology, yes. Additionally, there are lots of boring jobs out there. I know, I have one.   

       Lobsters are cannibalistic - True. Cannibalism doesn't appear until lobsters are stressed from either extremely high population density, scarcity of food, or when it comes mating time. Food scarcity is a non-issue with lobster ranching, as humans would be supplying the feed. Mating time could be solved by removing one gender of lobster. Overpopulation would be the most difficult hurdle to clear. This would require experimentation.   

       Poaching etc. - Yes, any time you have something of value, someone will try to steal it. When crime in general has been solved, lobsters will no longer be stolen from lobstermen.   

       The Ubiquitous Octopi - predators of very small (young) lobsters. Larger lobsters fend for themselves quite nicely. Perhaps the octopus you (normzone) saw in a lobster pot was eating the bait? Then again it may have been eating lobsters.   

       Lobster growth hormone therapy - okay, it hasn't been developed yet, but if growth hormones in the form of food supplements are out there for people, cattle, chickens, etc. It can't be too unrealistic a stretch for lobsters.   

       All in all, I suppose my main point is that there's gotta be a more efficient way of getting lobsters than hunter/gatherer, which is what we do now. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I for one would find it to be reasonably interesting work. I'll start by feeding them the fishbones from this idea.
Mungo, Mar 11 2004
  

       Maybe a strong mesh? Or several rows of fence, staggering the holes?
spacecadet, Mar 11 2004
  

       I'm not saying it's impossible, but you guys should go scuba diving and check it out for yourselves [ if you don't already ]. The environment is tough on artificial structures.   

       And catching lobster by hand is fun.
normzone, Mar 11 2004
  

       I like the idea of the lobster trail. What would the lobsterboys ride though?   

       Big problem with the breeding program though. Lobster larvae are pelagic or planktonic, free-swimming in the open ocean. Also, you're gonna need a hell of a piece of ocean floor for the gravid females. They dig pits in shallow water, where they wait until their eggs are ripe. During this time, they regularly beat the shit out of each other and chase each other away.
squeak, Mar 12 2004
  

       I suppose if that growth hormone works and is effective on sea horses the lobster boys could ride those.
KiwiJohn, Mar 13 2004
  

       "We don't take kindly to lobster rustlers 'round here, stranger. And them lobsters has got brands from this here Bubble-C ranch: ©."
Guncrazy, Mar 13 2004
  

       //What would the lobsterboys ride//   

       Sea Horses?
sufc, Mar 14 2004
  

       Maybe you could put one of those endless pool systems for migration.
js_530, Mar 14 2004
  

       I went lobster-wrestling this weekend, and saw first-hand how challenging an environment it is for humans to lobsterize. It was tasty, but don't expect me to help out when you go IPO.
normzone, Mar 15 2004
  
      
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