(July 1, 2019) Each year in spring, after lobster season ends (August 1st—March 31st) , there are many lobsters that are left behind at Tropic Seafood and not air shipped to Asia. These lobsters didn’t make the cut because they were weak, missing antennae or had a soft shell due to molting. For those reasons, they get left and in the process of holding they meet a mate. During mating, males attach a spermatophore packet (tar spot) on the abdomen of a female. As the female lobster extrudes eggs, she then scratches the tar spot releasing sperm, and her eggs get fertilized. These eggs then become attached to the underside of the tail–the eggs are bright orange in color, and take approximately 30 days for an embryo to develop within the egg. The eggs then turn a brownish grey color, hatch, and the larvae swim free.
Because lobsters are in captivity, we don’t want them to hatch in our tanks. Once a month in the spring and summer, all the berried females are gathered up, brought to a reef and set free. This contributes significantly to lobster population in Bahamas. Small lobsters can contribute 500,000 eggs, where large lobsters up to 1.5 million eggs. If only 1% survive, it adds at least 5,000 lobsters to the natural population. This is why it’s so important for all female lobsters to spawn at least once before they are captured. If undersized lobsters are caught they won’t be able to contribute to a lobster population of The Bahamas, and may become unsustainable.