Recovery by the Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus (L.) from the physiological stresses of trawling: Influence of season and live-storage position

H. S. Lund, T. Wang, E. S. Chang, Lars-Flemming Pedersen, E. W. Taylor, Per Bovbjerg Pedersen, David McKenzie

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Live Norway lobsters (Nephrops norvegicus L.) were trawled at depths of 30 to 55 m off the coast of Jutland (Denmark) in late winter (March) and in summer (August) in 2006. Water temperatures at the bottom and surface of the sea were 7 °C and 2 °C during the winter, and 12 °C and 21 °C in the summer, respectively. The recovery of specific physiological and metabolic variables from the intense stresses associated with capture (trawling and air-exposure during sorting) was followed in seawater at 5 °C in winter or 18 °C in summer. Recovery was compared in lobsters held individually in two different live-storage positions, either resting vertically on the tail or sitting horizontally. In winter, many animals were alive when brought on board and approximately 86% were still alive at the end of experimentation (96 h). In summer very few animals were alive when brought on board and, of these, approximately 95% were dead at 24 h. When compared with values measured in laboratory controls, the stresses of capture elicited very high haemolymph lactate contents in both seasons, although levels recovered within 24 h. Trawling also caused very high haemolymph glucose concentrations, which differed with season. In winter, haemolymph glucose was elevated for 24 h to levels significantly higher than in summer. In summer, glucose had returned to control levels by 4 h. At 4 h after trawling, haemolymph O2 status was not markedly influenced in either season, but there were significant disturbances of acid-base status. In winter, a potential metabolic lactic acidosis was compensated by a marked respiratory alkalosis, with significantly increased haemolymph pH and decreased CO2 total content and partial pressure. These effects disappeared gradually over 96 h. Summer lobsters showed combined metabolic and respiratory acidosis at 4 h, although this had recovered to control values in the small number of survivors sampled at 24 h. The capture stresses elicited very high haemolymph crustacean hyperglycaemic hormone (CHH) titres, significantly higher in summer than in winter. In winter, CHH titre had declined significantly at 24 h, whereas it exhibited a further significant increase at 24 h in summer. Live-storage position had no significant effect on survival or recovery from capture stresses in either season. The results demonstrate that Nephrops were much more stressed by trawling at high summer temperatures and had difficulty recovering from this, with pronounced negative effects on their survival, irrespective of their live-storage position.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)124-132
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Live-storage
  • Acid-base status
  • Fishery
  • Crustacean hyperglycaemic hormone
  • Lactate
  • Temperature
  • Nephrops norvegicus
  • Glucose


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