Research on microalgae as lobster bait
The decline of traditional bait stocks for the commercial lobster fishery is pushing industry and scientists to explore new avenues.
Why not use microalgae as a replacement for lobster bait?
At first glance, the idea may seem far-fetched, but microalgae are used in biofuels, food and some medicines.
But in the form of « bait cakes, » can they be enticing enough for lobster?
This is what the Biodome’s physiology, aquaculture and conservation research team is trying to determine, and more specifically, researcher and scientific advisor for the Biodome Nathalie Rose Le François, who is currently working to find the most appealing « recipe » for the crustacean with microalgae supplied by a Montreal company.
Still in the experimental phase, the team is testing the olfactory components of microalgae to fool the lobster.
In the lab, researchers simulate fishing conditions and have chosen two approaches to compare the activity level of lobsters in front of different food sources, explains Le François.
For the first, called « corridor », the baits are placed at the end of the restricted space and the active movements of the crustacean are observed.
For the second one, mackerel or microalgae are freely offered to the subject in his tank for a few days, then both are offered to him.
The mackerel generates more excitement from the lobsters during the tests so far, without surprise, admits Mrs. Le François.
However, the crustacean is not turning its nose up at the microalgae.
Once the lab studies are more advanced, she’d like to conduct sea trials within the next two years.
She notes that she has recruited a fisherman from Mingan, on the North Shore, for this purpose, but that she would also like to expand the test area to other regions.
Note that the research project is mainly financed by the Space for Life Foundation.
Laisser un commentaire