New lobster pods can help Fife business double sales to £1m

A Fife family business hopes to double sales to £1m over the next two years as it rolls out a novel shellfish storage system it believes will revolutionise the fishing industry.

Friday, 22nd June 2018, 9:51 am
Updated Friday, 22nd June 2018, 10:58 am
Todd Fish Tech, based in Dalgety Bay, has patented its 'Lobster Pod' product - the company is run by CEO Errin Todd with her husband Keith Todd, a marine biologist.

Todd Fish Tech, based in Dalgety Bay, has patented its lobster pod product, which increases the survival rate of landed lobsters, crab and langoustine from one or two days to up to six months.

Errin Todd, chief executiv runs Todd Fish Tech with her husband Keith Todd, a marine biologist.

They started selling the Lobster Pod in 2015 and expect to double sales this year from £250,000 to £500,000. Their aim is to reach £1m sales by 2020 and to start exporting to North America and Canada, where the shellfish market is more than ten times the size of Britain’s.

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The worldwide market for lobster, crab, prawns, scallop and other shellfish species is estimated to be worth more than $40 billion and growing.

Errin explained: ”Most seafood is transported by road haulage and for every lorry load of lobster, there’s a 15 per cent mortality rate.

“That equates to £12,000 of shellfish. It’s not good for sustainability, it’s not good for the lobster and it’s not good for the reputation of Scotland. Fishermen aren’t paid for dead lobster, so it’s very wasteful.

“Things haven’t evolved since 1970 when Britain started exporting shellfish, so we looked at the design of the current method and decided to make the lobster pod.”

Instead of storing lobster in polystyrene trays or heavy tanks of water, the shellfish are stored in individual plastic palettes with chilled and filtered water. These reduce stress and damage and helps keep the animals happy and healthy.

To transport the shellfish, the water is drained and replaced with a patented misting system that provides optimum conditions for the shellfish. In tests, the system has increased the survival rate of shellfish during transit to over 99% from an industry average of 85 per cent.

“The old system used two tons of water for every ton of shellfish being transported,” Todd said

“Our system uses under 100 litres of water for every ton of shellfish. In haulage terms, the load is lighter so uses less fuel. You can also use the full height of the lorry to stack the lobster trays. It saves 590 kilograms of carbon emissions for every journey from Glasgow to Barcelona.”

Other spin-off benefits include more money for fishermen and less risk – by removing the need to go out in bad weather if stored shellfish can be sold instead.

The couple assemble the lobster pods in-house and run the business with fish tech engineer Laura Johnson, a marine biology graduate from the University of Glasgow.