phil with lobster

About Kona Cold Lobsters

kona lobster

All Marine lobsters are fished by traps. As each lobster is removed from the trap, the length is gauged and the tail is inspected for eggs. Shorts, extra large and egg bearing females are returned to the sea. This eco-friendly capture methodology has assured sustainability for an 80 million pound annual fishery. Lobsters are found in the North Atlantic ocean off the coasts of Canada and the U.S. Live lobsters are selected for air shipment, packed dry with gel refrigerant and loaded into insulated containers for a 36 hour out of water flight. Upon arrival in Kona, lobsters are rejuvenated in cold 43 degree F pathogen free seawater. This is pumped up from 2000 feet below sea level through the NELHA 40” diameter pipeline.

In 1987 KCL relocated to Kona to research the feasibility of aquaculturing Maine lobsters. KCL successfully closed the life cycle in captivity. However, the accelerated grow out period from egg to market size would not yield the cost efficiencies necessary to compete with the wild fishery. Picture lobster feedlots . . . not so fast my friend.

live lobsters

KCL converted its extensive holding facility from an aquaculture orientation to a live seafood distributor. Using its husbandry expertise and nutritional experience, KCL provides a unique quality environment for live lobsters. The KCL system insures the firmest flesh and finest tasting lobsters west of the Atlantic seaboard.

KCL has expanded its live product line to more fully utilize the NELHA cold water resource, adding Dungeness crabs, Manila clams, PEI mussels, Pacific oysters and Japanese abalone. KCL also offers three local finfish: kampachi, moi and butterfish. While not shipped live, these fish are harvested from nearby ponds and open ocean cages weekly.


KCL’s customers include resorts, supermarkets, fine dining restaurants and independent gourmet chefs. These customers, located on the Big Island and the outer island of Maui, Oahu, Lanai and Kauai are supplied daily.