Shipping

Spiny lobsters and some Norway lobsters are usually shipped frozen (13,19,44) and should be kept at or below — 18°C during primary (wholesale) distribution and at or below - 15°C during final distribution to smaller retail stores (45). Norway lobsters shipped fresh should be adequately chilled before being shipped and surrounded with ice inside open plastic boxes or inside covered insulated boxes (45,46). The distribution of high-quality fresh or frozen lobsters requires an integrated system of chilled or cold storage distribution centers, refrigerated vehicles, and, at the retail level, refrigerated cabinets (47).

During the 1980s, the shipment of live lobsters (American, European, and some Norway) great distances increased dramatically (47-49). This shipment is accomplished either by consumers, at their point of departure, purchasing a live lobster that is packed with seaweed and dry ice in a styrofoam container, protected by a double corrugated box, and transported live by the consumer to its final destination (48), or commercially when live lobsters are bought and transported live via commercial passenger or freight airlines to their final destination, where they are sold live commercially (47,49). For live lobsters to be of good quality when sold at their final destination, it is necessary to get lobsters from a fisherman; keep the lobsters in a holding tank for at least 24 h; separate the weak and injured lobsters; shortly before shipment, store the strong and healthy lobsters in an insulated, leakproof, lightweight, but strong container along with gel ice (a frozen chemical solution in plastic bags) and Kem-Pak (a crepe cellulose fiber blanket) or wooden shavings; store the unsealed container in a cold storage room for at least 1 h; insulate, seal, and secure the container with double strapping; ship the container; and, on reaching the final destination, remove dead or weak lobsters and place the lobsters that are in good condition in tanks of recirculating seawater (47,49). Critical factors in the distribution of live lobsters are the condition of the lobsters before shipment, maintenance of a low storage temperature of 1 to 7°C, maintenance of at least 70% relative humidity, and prevention of injury to lobsters (49). The assurance of high quality standards within the commercial lobster industry involves the utilization of production plans based on hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) (50,51,52).

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