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In The News - October 2021

New method helps pinpoint lobster age

DNA tells the age of these young lobsters. Photo courtesy of M. Taylor, University of East Anglia

Researchers at the University of East Anglia in England believe they’ve cracked the code of understanding lobster age. A lobster molts frequently, thus making it difficult to estimate age. Other methods, such as examining proteins in a lobster’s brain, or growth rings in its eye stalks, cannot be used on a living lobster. The research team have developed a DNA-based method of pinpointing the age of younger lobsters to within 1.6 months. The study was published in the journal Evolutionary Applications. The researchers obtained lobsters raised from eggs so they would know their exact age. They then took tissue samples from the lobsters’ claws and measured DNA methylation, which is known to decrease with age. They used that data to build a model to estimate the age of their wild lobsters, most of which were estimated at between 40 and 55 months old, or about 3.5 to 4.5 years old. The DNA technique could be used to gain a better understanding of the age of lobster stock and stock health, and manage it more sustainably.

Never too old to lobster

Rockland resident Virginia Olsen, 101, made the national news in September as the state's oldest active lobsterman. She has lobstered all her life, first with her late husband and now with her 78-year-old son Max. Oliver started lobstering at age 8, and these days she catches them using a boat that once belonged to her late husband called “Virginia.” she has no plans to quit lobstering any time soon. She and Max fish out of the Spruce Head Fishermen’s Co-op. “I like doing it, I like being along the water,” she said. “And so I’m going to keep on doing it just as long as I can.

Photo courtesy Atlantic Sea Farms

Kelp business secures funding to expand

Atlantic Sea Farms, a commercial kelp grower and processor, is preparing to expand with the completion of a funding round and the addition of business partners and board members. The amount of funding was not disclosed. New York City-based Desert Bloom Food Ventures, a fund that invests in and supports food companies, led the funding round, and now occupies a board seat alongside Lisa Sebesta, a regenerative food-focused investor and consultant; Chandler Jones of CEI Ventures; and Briana Warner, president and CEO of Atlantic Sea Farms, according to a news release.

Lobster a hit in Hong Kong

Food Export–Northeast’s Hong Kong representative organized an online promotion featuring American lobster tails with DayDayCook, a multimedia food platform. The online promotion, which ran from July 30 through August 31, featured American lobster in three different ingredients packs. To drive awareness of the recipe packs, DayDayCook focused on a number of promotional activities to encourage greater interest in trying American lobster and, thus, drive sales for the partnership promotion. At its close, the promotion resulted in approximately $100,000 in sales comprising more than 6,600 pounds of Lobster sold. The collaboration also helped expand awareness for American lobster as a food product Hong Kong consumers are able to cook at home.

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