When shipping seafood of any kind, some special requirements and guidelines must be followed to keep the shipment fresh and of its best quality. Lobster, especially live lobster, has very specific guidelines that must be followed. Prime Fresh Handling has been successfully shipping live lobster for years. Our team continues to grow and learn more about improving our shipping techniques.
Let’s start by reviewing some of those requirements when figuring out how to ship live lobster. It can be packaged and shipped in various ways – live, dead, frozen, chilled, whole, or in parts. The biggest factor, though, is whether they are alive or dead. For example, live lobsters need access to oxygen and are sensitive to temperature changes.
How to Keep Lobster Alive During Shipping?
The key to keeping the lobsters alive is to ensure that they are cool and moist at all times, on top of having access to oxygen. Keeping the lobsters cool is extremely important. The cooler the lobster, the less oxygen they will use. If the temperature is too high, the shellfish need more oxygen. They will also risk drying out and possibly dying during transit. Because of their gills, lobsters need to be kept in a moist environment. The moisture allows their gills to function properly. A lobster can live 4 to 5 days out of the water if handled properly.
Lobsters do not have to be submerged in water to be kept moist. In fact, they should be out of water during transportation. This means they shouldn’t be packed directly on ice because the ice can melt, and a lobster sitting in freshwater can swell up and possibly burst. Dry ice is also on the “do not use when shipping live lobsters” list. Dry ice releases large amounts of carbon dioxide, which can asphyxiate the lobsters.
Shipping in a sweater tank requires aeration equipment to reduce the risk of the lobster using up all the dissolved oxygen in the water and suffocating. Refrigerated trucks are ideal for helping maintain proper care, moisture levels, and temperatures.
Shipping Live Lobsters
Our cool chain management experts are dependable and will keep the lobster at the ideal temperature during transit. When shipping lobsters, the optimal temperature is between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Be careful they don’t get too cold, or they can freeze.
It is also best to not feed the lobsters for 2 to 3 days before shipping. Lobsters with full stomachs are more likely to use more oxygen and increase the chance of vomiting, and no one wants messy lobsters. And on our final note, ensure the lobsters have breathing room, so they don’t run out of oxygen. Also, check they are properly packed so they don’t break their shells.