Gaffkaemia and how it’s affecting the lobster population

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Gaffkaemia and how it’s affecting the lobster population

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Gaffkaemia is a virus that only effects lobsters, mostly in warmer parts of the Atlantic Ocean. It was first found in American lobsters in 1971 and is commonly referred to as the “red tail disease.”

Where does it come from?

Gaffkaemia is caused by a bacteria called Gram-positive lactic acid bacterium. Canadian lobsters are not affected by the disease, but crustaceans native to the UK have no natural resilience to the fight it. 

How does it effect lobsters?

Gaffkaemia is a challenging disease because the infection only affects some types of lobsters. It’s hardly affected the Canadian and American lobster population, however, the disease is fatal for UK lobsters. Scientists have found that UK lobsters will usually die within three days of being in contact with an infected lobster.

Effects of the infection include lethargy (typically seen as a drooping tail), anorexia, and a pink colour on the side of the abdomen – which is where the “red tail disease” comes from. When a lobster has the disease, it will lie on its side and frequently lose appendages. The effects are allowed by low temperatures.

How CSF helps

Although antibiotics have helped control some of the outbreak, the disease still presents a problem for the lobster population for fear of the disease spreading. At CSF, we raise Caribbean Spiny Lobsters that are immune to Gaffkaemia. We raise the lobsters sustainably on land in a ground-breaking new facility and have developed an entirely new and sustainable system. We take baby lobsters that regularly wouldn’t survive naturally and raise them, as baby lobsters in the wild have a survival rate of about 1 in 1,000.

We’ve also created a proprietary fishmeal to ensure we are meeting sustainability standards. We strictly follow the Global Alliance Compound Feed Manufacturing (CFM) Standards, which is a specific criterion to addresses important food and safety issues and is of world-wide applicability.

Keeping our lobsters healthy and ready for consumption is one of the pillars of our success at CSF and it's important to understand complex diseases such as Gaffkaemia.

Interested in learning more, or investing in the future of our fishery? Please contact us here.

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