Development of technology for larval Panulirus japonicus culture in Japan: a review
Hirokazu Matsuda and Taisuke Takenouchi
Of six Panulirus lobsters that occur in the shallow waters of Japan, the Japanese spiny lobster Panulirus japonicus is the most abundant and the most important to Japanese coastal fisheries. Hence, Japan has had a long and great interest in the propagation and aquaculture of this lobster. Research on larval (phyllosoma) lobster culture in Japan commenced in 1898, so there have now been over 100 years of research and development. However, specific biological characteristics of phyllosoma, such as their peculiar body form, protracted lifespan (c. 1 year), and pelagic open-ocean life, have hindered significant progress in culture. The first complete culture from hatch to juvenile stage occurred in 1988 at Mie Prefectural Science and Technology Promotion Center, exactly 90 years after the first trial. Subsequently, the number of juveniles produced in the laboratory per year has increased gradually up to c. 300 in 2003, a result that reflects the increasing availability of information on optimal culturing conditions, such as optimal environmental parameters, feeding, and tank design. Still, there are significant problems to overcome in the establishment of large-scale culture of phyllosoma. These further challenges include the control of bacterial diseases and excessive aggregation of larvae, the use of prepared diets such as artificial foods, and the reduction of high operating costs. At present, these problems are being examined in an effort to increase the number of larvae cultured in a single tank and to stabilize larval culture by controlling bacterial levels.