independent

Friday 25 April 2014

Head start for baby lobsters

Sarah Hegarty with one of the 'berried' lobsters who are awaiting the birth of thousands of babies in Dingle's Oceanworld at the moment. Photo: Marian O'Flaherty

DINGLE Oceanworld is acting as something of a maternity ward at the moment as four female lobsters await the birth of babies in their thousands.

The 'berried' females carry the eggs under their tails and, which a thrash of their tail when the time is right, the little ones will emerge from their happy cocoons into the 'birthing baths' at Mara Beo.

The lobsters are part of a conservation project in Dingle Oceanworld which are working in conjunction with local fishermen in an attempt to improve lobster stocks in the West Kerry area.

According to Sarah Hegarty, who is one of those currently overseeing the project, once the baby lobsters hatch they will be cared for in Dingle Oceanworld until they have developed a little further.

Sarah, along with Sarah Forde and Kevin Flannery, will feed and care for the hatchlings. This involves moving them around a lot as lobsters have cannibalistic tendencies and are very territorial.

The baby lobsters will be fed plankton until they have their claws when at such time they will be given to local fishermen who will release them along the West Kerry coast.

According to Kevin, lobsters born from eggs in the wild have a mere one per cent chance of survival. However, through this conservation project their chances of survival will be increased by up to 20 per cent.

But for now, the expectant mothers can enjoy the in-house hospitality at Dingle Oceanworld lobster maternity ward.

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