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Business and Economy

UMaine Undergrad Develops Test for Shipping Lobsters

ORONO, Maine - An undergraduate animal and veterinary science major at the University of Maine at Orono has developed a method to evaluate lobster shipping viability based on claw strength.

Matthew Hodgkin developed a device that measures the closing strength of a lobster's crusher claw. The device allows for testers to determine muscle mass measurements without using a blood sample - a more onerous process that's standard in the industry. Lobsters with more muscle mass are better able to handle the stress of shipping.

Hodgkin developed the method working with mechanical engineering professor Michael Peterson, mechanical engineering student Thomas McKay, and the university's Lobster Institute Executive Director Bob Bayer.

Bayer says they hope the next step will be monetizing the device. "We hope that someone will commercialize this. We're going to put it out there for anyone that wants, we'll help anyone to develop it to commercial stage."

Hodgkin and Bayer also co-own a business that recycles lobster shells.