The National Lobster Hatchery, Padstow, Cornwall.
The National Lobster Hatchery is a marine conservation, research and education charity based in Padstow, Cornwall, UK. What makes them unique is that their work is specifically related to a commercial species – The European Lobster and in the last few years they have successfully established themselves as a centre of expertise on a global scale.
Lobster is worth a huge amount in terms of both its economic and social importance. Consequently they are subject to considerable fishing pressure and vulnerable to catastrophic stock collapse. Both the Scandinavian and Mediterranean stocks have completely collapsed and not recovered to this day .
The species is the most valuable fish caught in the UK and is part of a major export industry. This one species alone is worth £30m each year and we know that without it, the small coastal communities would have very little, other than tourism, to create jobs and keep the harbours alive.
A female lobster can carry in the region of 20,000 eggs under their abdomen, however only one of these is expected to survive in the wild. With skilful and careful application of modern technology the Lobster Hatchery can improve this survival rate by about 1000 times! They released over 53,000 juvenile lobsters in 2014 and aim to increase this number over time. They are even undertaking a population modelling exercise that will help us to define how many lobsters they should release in a given year.
We first started officially supporting The National Lobster Hatchery in 2019, and we now run annual fundraising and awareness campaigns to support their much needed research and restocking activities. Nathan was invited to become a Patron, and considers their work invaluable to our industry and the future of Lobsters:
“From the window of Outlaw’s New Road in Port Isaac, I watch the fishermen as they gather lobsters from their pots. For me and many like me, lobster is one the most luxurious and enjoyable seafoods available. However, if something isn’t done to protect lobster stocks, in a relatively short time, these things will just be memories. I am proud to be a Patron and would urge anyone with an interest in marine biology and sustainability, or who merely wants to continue to enjoy eating seafood in years to come, to support this worthy cause.”