Although chicken and beef may be the proteins on everyone’s mind when the dinner bell rings, fresh seafood options at supermarkets have just as great of a fan base. According to Progressive Grocer’s 2015 Retail Seafood Report, 6 out of every 10 seafood retailers disclosed significant gains over the previous year. Lobsters in particular present an incredible value-add opportunity for supermarkets and grocery stores because of their popularity and revenue potential as a fine-dining product.
However, without proper lobster tank management and maintenance strategies, supermarket seafood departments might leave themselves vulnerable to costly shrinkage. Which factors are most important to retaining as many live lobsters as possible in commercial lobster tanks?
“Employees should still regularly check intake vents and clear out debris.”
Lobsters can go over a month without food, so long as seafood department employees keep lobster tank water temperatures between 45 and 50 degree Fahrenheit. Depending on the model of the lobster tank in question, heating or cooling tank water may be entirely automated, running of an internal thermostat. That said, employees should still regularly check intake vents and clear out debris that might prevent the technology from balancing temperature.
Lobster live in saltwater environments, so tank salinity is vital to keeping them healthy. That said, never pour salt directly into the tank with lobsters present to adjust salt levels. Instead, create a new batch of salt water in a clean bucket, measuring 1.5 lbs of salt per 5 gallons of water. Do not introduce the new salt water to the lobster tank until after dissolution and a proper hydrometer check.
If foam appears in a live lobster tank, it’s a bellwether for one of many different issues, all of which lead to lobster shrinkage. Foam could indicate the presence of an injured or dead lobster contaminating the tank, or that a seafood department employee neglected to rinse a lobster properly before introducing it to the tank. Whatever the reason, lobster tank managers should physically remove as much of the foam as possible before hunting for the root cause. They should avoid defoaming agents and instead use a piece of cardboard to scoop the foam out.
The best lobster tanks mimic the ecosystem lobsters thrive in, but unless tank owners are willing to devote the resources necessary to keep these environments balanced, they could end up losing more than they gain.
That’s why partnering with the right commercial food equipment distributor matters when it comes to lobster tank management – Horizon Bradco offers maintenance packages for every product we sell, as well as on-site training for employees. Regularly scheduled maintenance will keep your tank running efficiently, maximizing revenue and reducing shrinkage, and training sessions ensure your staff has the working knowledge to utilize equipment in the best ways day in and day out.
For more information on lobster tanks and seafood equipment we offer, check out a couple of our Marineland products.