Swansea researchers work in pincer movement with EU partners to benefit prawn industry

Researchers from Swansea University’s Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR) are part of a new €2.4M (approx £1.9M) international collaborative project to develop and enhance the sustainability of the EU’s prawn fishery.

prawn2 The Nephrops norvegicus species, also known as ‘Dublin Bay prawn’, ‘langoustine’ or ‘scampi’, will be the specific focus of the NEPHROPS project, which brings together expertise from the fishing industry, aquaculture technologists and academia.  The species is one of Europe’s most lucrative shellfish, with 34,000 tonnes – worth £100M – landed last year in the UK alone.

The project, led by the Orkney Fisheries Association and the Ryan Institute at the National University of Ireland Galway, and involving universities and industry partners from the UK, Norway, and Sweden, will focus on developing hatchery and ranching technologies, and enhancing the survival of discards resulting from trawl fishing.

prawn1 The Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR), based in Swansea University’s College of Science, is playing a key role in developing a pilot scale hatchery for the species, which will culminate in a publicly available hatchery handbook.

The Centre has previously worked with project leaders Orkney Fisheries Association to optimise hatchery operations for scampi’s larger cousin, the European lobster Homarus gammarus.

Dr Adam Powell, project leader at Swansea University, said: “Techniques for culturing European lobsters are already relatively advanced.  However, work to date with Nephrops has been more limited and generally small in scale.

“Adult females are allowed to spawn, and larvae are reared through three successive stages. After approximately 30 days duration, the larvae metamorphose into juveniles.  The process will be piloted at CSAR and upscaled in Orkney, with the aim to release numbers of juvenile recruits in the medium term. 

“CSAR, alongside colleagues from across Europe, look forward to developing a hatchery for this species.”

For more information on the NEPHROPS project, visit www.nephrops.eu, and on CSAR at Swansea University, visit http://www.aquaculturewales.com/.

The NEPHROPS research has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme managed by REA Research Executive Agency http://cordis.europa.eu/projects/rcn/103402_en.html under grant agreement no. 286903.  

The project partners include Orkney Fisheries Association; Clew Bay Marine Forum Ltd; Njord; Stitftelsen Norsk Sjømatsenter; Northbay Shellfish; Rebecca M Fishing; Coastal Zone Services; Tärnö LL 454; Atlas VG 86; Kames Fish Farming; the Centre for Environmental and Marine Sciences, University of Hull; the University of Gothenburg; Teknologisk Institutt; the Ryan Institute at the National University of Ireland Galway, and the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research, Swansea University.  

Picture captions: A larval and juvenile Nephrops, reared at the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR), at Swansea University’s College of Science. Photos courtesy of Dr Adam Powell, CSAR.