Maintaining the pen and managing stock
Select stocks that weigh at least 200-300 g each. Lobsters are carnivorous, thus, select fingerlings of the same size. Stock the pen during high tide by gently dropping the fingerlings into the water. Do not mix healthy juveniles with those that are molting or have just molted. The following stocking densities are recommended for the different compartments:
-rearing area – 150 pieces;
-nursery area- 160 pieces; and
-transition are – 150 pieces
Sanitation and protection. One month after constructing the pen, remove any fouling organisms, crabs or flotsam which can damage the net. Clean then et at least twice a month. Using coconut husk or nylon scrub, remove barnacles and other debris to allow water movement inside the pen. Install kerosene-fuelled lamps along the perimeter to warm fisher folks of the presence of the enclosure, especially at night.
Shelter for the stock
Arrange old tires, bamboo tubes or rock piles inside the pen to provide shelter for the lobsters. Use coconut fronds to filter out too much sunlight.
Feeding the stock
Feed the stock twice a day (early morning and late afternoon) at 15-20 % of the aggregate body weight of the stock. Some fisher folks from coastal communities in Guimaras (la Paz, Sabang and Pandaraonan0 have been using sea urchins, trash fish like rays and sharks and other animal-based feed with good results. Monitor the growth of the lobsters at least twice a month to determine feed requirement and for record purposes.
Keep a record of activities and financial concerns to determine the status of the project/
Harvest the lobster six months after the first stocking. Oversized lobster weighing 1.5-2 kg are rarely bought. Harvest those that weigh at least 1 kg each. Do not harvest lobster that have just molted because they cannot withstand stress during transport. Survival is high at 90 percent for lobsters that weigh at least 250 g. harvesting can be done as early as four months and as late as seven months. Always keep a weighing scale to determine the weight of the lobsters. Succeeding harvest can be done every month thereafter. The ideal time for harvesting is between 6:00 am to 8:00 am, or when the weather is particularly cloudy. Do not harvest when it rains because lobsters die when exposed to freshwater.
Buyer prefer live lobsters; therefore lobsters must be handled with utmost care. Wear a pair of goggles or snorkel while harvesting by hand or harvest using a scoop net. Always use a box (at least 2 cubic ft) made of plastic weave or netting partially buoyed by bamboo tubes. Styrofoam or any other floater to keep t the harvested lobster in the water while the collection is on going.
Contact buyers before harvesting. Deliver the live harvest immediately to avoid stress. Wrap the lobsters in paper cloth pre-soaked in seawater and place them inside Styrofoam boxes.
A lobster pen operator must source for lobster juveniles and feeds to sustain this livelihood activity.