Homarus Inc. is a non-profit organization, comprised of several partners from the public and private sectors, whose mandate is to develop tools for insuring the sustainability of the lobster resource in our coastal waters. This initiative was undertaken in 2001 by the Maritime Fishermen’s Union in order to find a solution to the decline of lobster catches in certain regions of the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence.
- Introduce practical and effective approaches to enhancing lobster habitat and resources;
- Increase scientific knowledge surrounding lobster biology and habitat;
- Provide an educational tool for raising awareness amongst stakeholders concerning the need for conserving the marine habitat and sustaining the resource.
Homarus Inc. is presently working on a multitude of projects, with the goal of reaching their objectives. However, two projects in particular are of primordial importance:
Artificial Reef Project
This project aims at developing the use of artificial reefs as a measure for improving lobster habitat. Since 2003, several experimental reefs have been constructed using cement structures specially designed for lobsters. According to the most recent studies, the use of these reefs can be very effective in creating new shelter for lobsters and can also be used for expanding existing natural reefs. Since the beginning of the project over 60 thousand structures have been installed along our coastal waters, all having the capacity of sheltering at least one lobster.
Lobster Hatchery and Seeding Projects
The hatchery project was created in 2002 with the purpose of conducting research to determine if lobster seeding can be used to effectively enhance natural lobster stocks. The project also aims at developing a simple and cost-effective hatchery technology which will eventually be available to fishermen groups for pursuing their own seeding efforts. To date, experimental results have been very positive and enable us to think that we could see the development of large scale seeding efforts in the near future. Within the last eight years of experimental work, over 1.5 million lobsters have been seeded.
This image shows the release of the stage IV lobster larvae. Once the reef has been established, a long tube is used to release the larvae at the reef site. Larvae can be released back into the waters as soon as the temperature reaches 10°C, but no later than mid-September. A rocky habitat is needed, less than 30 feet deep. From Burton (1992). Used with permission.
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