Lobster hatchery to be created at Seafood Centre
Trust Director Julia Aston said, “I first had the idea six or seven years ago, but at the time there was no funding to make a grant for such a project.
“Since then the Big Lottery has come into being, and consultants, advising four years ago on the Harbour Village project, said that a hatchery would attract tourists, as well as being needed because of reducing stocks in the sea.
“Mike Hardy, the Chief Executive of Northumberland Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority said that a lobster hatchery was needed in our area because of the increasing reliance of fishermen on shellfish.”
Berried hens (pregnant female lobsters) will be gathered from the sea round Amble and put into tanks in the Seafood Centre. Once hatched, the developing lobsters will be put through a succession of tanks until, after two or three months, they are big enough to be put back into the sea.
Visitors will be able to see this process via information boards, interactive panels and the tanks themselves. There may also be an opportunity for them to handle lobsters.
“We intend to be putting about 20,000 lobsters back into the sea each year,” said Julia, “although they won’t all survive of course.”
They are hoping to mark the new lobsters so they can evaluate how the scheme is working.