Innovate to Grow

Recreating the complex ocean environment to produce Tropical Rock Lobster.

Ornatas has commercialised world leading science and technology for spiny lobster breeding developed by our partners, the University of Tasmania Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies.

With a commitment, not only lobster production, but to building an international reputation as a centre of excellence for hatchery based spiny lobster production. Ornatas works with world-leading scientists, pushing forward with new and innovative ways to improve aquaculture practices.

Ornatas and their partners are positioning Australia at the forefront of onshore lobster aquaculture, with opportunity for technology transfer to other aquaculture sectors.

A collaborative project to investigate commercial grow out of Tropical Rock Lobster in Northern Australia.

Pioneering Tropical Rock Lobster Sea Raft Culture For Northern Australia

This project will undertake the critical science and research required for the next step of our Tropical Rock Lobster production – the grow-out of hatchery-produced juvenile lobsters in sea raft enclosures.

A 4.5 million dollar project has commenced to expand and support our trials into Tropical Rock Lobster sea raft grow out systems in Western Australia.

The project is funded by the CRC for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA), as part of the Australian Government’s CRC Program, with additional support from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC).

Pioneering Tropical Rock Lobster Sea Raft Culture for Northern Australia Research trials in northern Western Australia and Queensland, will investigate the development and evaluation of further production technology to meet market demands. Onshore grow out system trials also continue at our Toomulla Beach aquaculture facility.

We are working with the best in the industry to focus on six research areas: environment; raft design; translocation, lobster health and biosecurity; feeding strategies; lobster growth performance; and, premium diverse market acceptability. Our project partners are the best and brightest in Australia’s seafood industry and aquaculture research, bringing expertise across the production-to-market pipeline.

Strength in partnerships

Research Partners

Commercial Partners

Funding Partners

Project news and feed

The ARC Research Hub Partnership

As Ornatas’ key research partner, The ARC Research Hub for Sustainable Onshore Lobster Aquaculture aims to build knowledge to establish the world’s first sustainable onshore lobster aquaculture industry focused on commercial, sustainable, and socially acceptable lobster production from hatchery to market. Headed by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at the University of Tasmania and in collaboration with the University of Auckland and the University of the Sunshine Coast, the partnership with the Research Hub will provide alternate solutions for lobster culture in bio-secure and cost-effective onshore systems, with the outcomes aiming to position Australia at the forefront of onshore lobster aquaculture.

World’s first discovery


The discovery of how to successfully breed and grow tropical rock lobsters is world changing. It brings commercially viable lobster farming closer to reality and helps ensure sustainability of lobsters for generations to come.

Our secret to successfully breeding and growing tropical lobsters is the specially designed methods and equipment that supports the lobster at each stage of the complex life cycle. A system that is finely tuned for success.

The University of Tasmania has estimated that commercial production of tropical rock lobster in the hatchery can be done within 120 days. Grow out to market size will take a total of two years making this species commercially viable. Ornatas and the University will test this together.

The benefits


A reliable, large-scale supply of lobster juveniles supports the establishment of new commercial aquaculture ventures and sustainable food production systems. In existing markets, such as South-East Asian markets, the supply will relieve wild fisheries and create a more sustainable lobster industry. We are bulding new land-based industries in remote regions in northern Australia. The main goals of Ornatas Lobster Hatchery and ongoing work with our research partners:

  • To build a sustainable onshore lobster aquaculture industry focused on commercial, sustainable and socially responsible lobster production from hatchery to market.
  • To investigate novel systems engineering, specialised feed manufacture, determination and modification of seedstock quality, new frontiers in seedstock transport, all within an informed environmental and marketing framework.
  • To provide alternate solutions for lobster culture in bio-secure and cost effecitve onshore systems. Adult Spiny Lobster