The cultivation of the European lobster has been a challenge due to its complicated early life. They start to eat shortly after hatching and during the first 2 weeks, the larvae pass through 4 stages and change from a pelagic to a benthic state. During several experiments at SINTEF Aquaculture and Fisheries (Norway) from 2012-2014, lobster survival rates were increased by up to 43% by switching from Artemia to copepod-based diets.
In one of the studies at SINTEF, one group of newly hatched lobster larvae was offered Artemia whilst another recieved Acartia tonsa as first feed. The larvae being fed copepods had up to 43 % higher survival rates compared to the group fed Artemia, and had over two times higher dry weight. In addition the study quantified DHA levels seeing as this fatty acid is one of the main components required for normal growth and development. The DHA level was stable during the pelagic stage in the larvae given copepods, whereas, for the larvae fed Artemia, the levels dropped significantly, (60%) following the first feeding period. This demonstrates the superiority of copepods with regards to expected survival rates and their ability to sustain a high level of DHA for necessary metabolic processes in lobster.