How to ship lobsters and other live seafood?

jimsterSeptember 2, 2010

Does anyone here have good information (from personal experience would be nice) on how to ship live lobsters, crabs, clams, mussels and the like? Local fish markets will do that, but not economically. I would like to ship these things to friends when I have a large catch or when prices are low here.

I think it involves using dry ice and overnight shipping. I need specifics on how to pack everything. Dry ice gives off carbon dioxide as it evaporates. How are the live creatures prevented from suffocating?


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The lobsters I recently had shipped from Maine (mainelobsterdirect) came packed in a Styrofoam cooler, with seaweed and ice packs, all packed inside a cardboard box. The ice packs were only partially melted the next afternoon when the lobsters were delivered. They came with a six-pack bottle divider and each lobster had it's own slot.

I think dry ice would kill and freeze live seafood packed with it. The only things I've ever received with dry ice are things that are already frozen. When I've shipped with dry ice, from work, the items were also already frozen.

I would wonder if you can do it much cheaper, once you buy the supplies and pay for overnight shipping. The seafood places have the added benefit of volume.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 4:07PM
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No Dry ice.

Depending on where you live, if you drive around the neighborhood, you may find Styro Foam boxes with jell packs in them that people throw away. Those are boxes that medicine are shipped. They are perfect for shipping lobsters and crabs. Keep the lobsters cold, but above freezing, and moist (no water). They can stay alive for four to five days.

I don't know about shipping other sea food alive.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 5:29PM
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Dcarch: Jim:

Use the Stryofoam. Put ice packs in, wrapped in paper.
Don't use Dry Ice, it gives off Carbon Dioxide.

Also if you have seaweed available put some of that on top,
of the ice packs for moisture and
helps to keep the Lobsters from banging around.

Duct Tape the top and punch some small holes,in the sides for air , above the half way mark.

Put this in a cardboard box.

Mark the box " Live Lobsters "

Find the quickest Shipper

When will I get them ??? LOL LOL LOL

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 10:35PM
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beats the heck out of me, but I can tell you that we got a shipment of frozen beef from Omaha Steaks at Christmas (yeah, I know, I raise grassfed beef and somone gives elery a gift certificate to Omaha Steaks, LOL). They came packed in really thick styrofoam coolers with ice packs and the stuff got to me still frozen, so they stay pretty cold. Those coolers were really substantial, not like the styrofoam ones I see at the hardware store, so maybe you know someone who gets things from Omaha Steaks?


    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 10:43PM
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How well do you know your vet?

Mrs.M is a tech in a vet clinic and they get and/or ship bloodwork, meds, tissue slides, etc all the time. They have a freezer full of freezer packs of all sizes and shapes plus a stockpile of "made for shipping" styro coolers, again of all sizes.

They use a specialty courier service but I think all the ones generally available offer Next Day service...for a price.

I've sent live Dungeness and oysters/clams from Vancouver Island to Calgary but I put them on a direct flight and they are picked up at the airport the same day.

That is a trip of 1,000 kilometres, more or less. 600 miles, more or less.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 1:41AM
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"When will I get them ??? LOL LOL LOL "

It was supposed to be a surprise, Lou!!! Who let the cat out of the bag????

Thanks everyone for the great advice. I think I can do this. I will get supplies together and have everything ready to go when the time is right.

Most of the surplus catches an garden crops go to neighbors. But sometimes I would like to ship them to friends or family.


    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 1:56PM
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Hi Jim:
I realize I repeated some things , that were already said.

My Daughter makes and sells Crabcakes and sometimes ships them frozen, uncooked.
She also buys live seafood and they are shipped as I described.

She asked about the Seaweed . The market told her it is for
cushioning plus moisture.

Thought I'd pass it on to everyone.

PS: I'll pay the Shipping !!!

Didn't hear anything from you about the Hurricane in your neck of the Ocean ?
Only about the wrong State,I posted.

Stay in touch if you can.
Hope everything will fare well !!!

If you need any help I'll drive up.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 2:58PM
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All the suggestions make sense. However, isn't there a conflict between keeping the package cold and having air holes? Won't a non-airtight container warm up fairly fast?


    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 11:08PM
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I'm only telling you the way they ship to my Daughter.

The couple holes ( icepick size ) wouldn't matter.

Also mark the package( up ^) along with the other markings,
I described.
There is a one day shipping. Costs more.

You could experiment and send me some, ( 3 day ) I'll pay the shipping.

You didn't say anything about the storm.
Did it affect the Claming and fishing ???


    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 11:29AM
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When the lobster is cooled to near freezing, it is almost hibernating. In this state, it uses very little oxygen.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 3:15PM
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"You didn't say anything about the storm.
Did it affect the Claming and fishing ???"

The hurricane, which was supposed to be a near direct hit here according to the news media, was a non-event. I slept through it two feet away from an open window. The surf was pretty impressive though. Lots of people were enjoying a beautiful day at the beach on Saturday following the "storm".


    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 6:24PM
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" I slept through it two feet from an open window "

Ti's nice to hear this, after the fact.
Wish I had known before the fact.

You're gonna get yours !!!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 6:52PM
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