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Hatchery in a Box

As a result of the success of the Aquahive system it has been possible to greatly reduce the size of hatchery facility needed to hatch and grow crustacean larvae to a size where they can be safely deployed to sea.

In order to create sustainable fisheries it has long been the ambition of research organisations and fishermen alike to produce large numbers of juveniles at an affordable price to release back into the fishery, either as a re-stocking programme or sea-farming. Hatchery-in-a-Box now provides the solution.

Hatchery technology used to create Aquahive Hatchery in a Box
( getting smaller is not that new…. And it works! )

The hatchery that shrunk

The production capacity of 65,000 stage 6 lobster juveniles per season of a 6.1m (20ft) Hatchery-in-a-Box with 13m2 floor area would require around 236 m2 for comparable production in a traditional lobster hatchery (source Orkney Lobster Hatchery).  A 6.2m (40ft) Hatchery-in-a-Box of 26m2 giving a production capacity of 150,000 would compare with an area of around 630m2 in a traditional hatchery.


The Hatchery-in-a-Box reduces start up capital costs, by a magnitude because the costs of expensive, large, buildings can be removed from the equation.  Staff welfare and storage may be available in a present facility owned by the operator or a separate portable cabin could be considered.  This puts cost within the reach of shellfish producer associations.  The cost of a 6.1m (20ft) unit at around £72,000 compares with around £320,000 for a conventional built facility with a similar capacity.

Picture of a Hatchery-in-a Box

Creating sustainable fisheries

The production of affordable juveniles is one of the key elements in the creation of a sustainable fishery. The production of significant numbers of juveniles and their deployment into the fishery is paramount to its success. Hatchery-in-a-Box can be operated by fisheries organisations, the aquaculture industry, local fishermens’ groups, individuals, conservation organisations, colleges and research institutes and many other parties with an interest in sustainable fisheries.

Portability goes hand in hand with smallness

Planning – because the Hatchery-in-a-Box is constructed inside a shipping container, which is classed as a non-permanent structure, it is exempt from normal planning procedure and can be placed in the most appropriate place for its activity, and easily relocated as necessary.

Portability – because Hatchery-in-a-Box is constructed inside a shipping container it can be transported easily between sites, either by road or by sea, by existing haulage companies and shipping companies worldwide.


lobsters from larvae to juvenile with Aquahive and Hatchery in a Box

Significant reduction of running costs

Labour – feeding and management of the juveniles, which is a large factor in traditional facilities, is reduced by a factor of 2-3, leading directly to savings in labour costs per season.

Heating – of both water and air is reduced by several factors: the level of insulation in the hatchery, reduced volumes of water and reduced building size, and by retaining the heat from the pumps, reducing the need for supplementary heating.

Overall we would expect a reduction of at least 40% total running costs when compared to a traditional hatchery with similar production levels.

lobsters from larvae to juvenile with Aquahive and Hatchery in a Box

Local production

It is not always optimal to centralise production – sometimes it is best to have the facilities at points near to the landing areas in the fishery.

The Hatchery-in-a-Box is portable and is sited more easily especially if the available space is limited.
Local siting removes the need to transport brood-stock and released juveniles over large distances.
Siting next to a fishery can preserve local provenance and genetic diversity.

New species and Hatchery-in-a-Box

SHS is committed to developing its technology to include new crustacean and non-crustacean species, both saltwater and freshwater, working with customers to achieve this.  Our current systems major on clawed lobsters.