2017 Volume 46 Pages 17-24
The Norway lobster, Nephrops norvegicus, is a valuable and commonly exported European decapod crustacean, which experiences stress from point of capture and onward transport. Stressors such as air exposure duration (i.e. emersion period) and air temperature have been studied previously. We investigated whether mortality could be reduced by decreasing road vibrations during transport, and how physiological stress measurements were influenced in a transport simulation experiment, reflecting a typical short road journey along a supply chain. Baseline haemolymph samples were taken from lobsters sampled immediately after commercial capture using static traps (lobster pots). Individuals were emersed for one hour, either immobile or with continuous shaking; the latter to simulate conditions occurring during transport. Both treatments significantly increased Total Haemocyte Counts (THC) and serum glucose, lactate and ammonium concentrations compared to baseline animals. Individuals subjected to continuous shaking showed higher glucose and ammonium concentrations compared to individuals maintained immobile. We conclude that shaking appears to influence the physiological responses of N. norvegicus in addition to the effects of emersion alone, and the reduction of road vibrations (e.g. via simple cushioning) can reduce post-transport mortality.