Farming the Crustacean

While it is commonly believed that the crustacean is the last phylum of animal to be farmed for human consumption, this belief is not grounded in history. Norway boasted several lobster farms that were operational from the 1650s onwards. As such, Norway supplied the courts of Western Europe with lobster until the 1930s. One such example is the lobster farm complex in Espavaer, Norway (fig. 20).

Figure 20 – Lobster fishery in Espavaer, Norway.

This particular facility employed an irregular truss system to span three inlets of a nearby river such that the lobsters could be brought in and the points of entry dammed off. Using fire to heat the enclosed airspace, temperatures could be maintained within the structure throughout the winter months. The plan of this structure is surprisingly contemporary, and the amorphous shed roof is driven entirely by the topography of the peninsula (fig. 21). While this particular project is quite compelling as an idea and a structure, it is probably not the right approach for a Chesapeake Bay crab farming operation. We’ll investigate why in turn, but to begin with, we’ll a make a brief survey of what types of crab farming operations are working and where.

Figure 21 – Lobster fishery, Espevaer Norway1650-1950.