Exciting news for Whitby, the first batch of baby lobsters has been released into the sea on the Yorkshire Coast. Thanks to the Whitby Lobster Hatchery, devoted to replenishing dwindling stocks.
Whitby Lobster Hatchery has been working hard to ensure the conservation of our marine ecosystems and the protection of our local fishing communities. Their project aims to release 100,000 juvenile lobsters yearly to increase lobster stocks.
Joe Redfern from Whitby Lobster Hatchery described releasing 50 of the one-inch lobsters into the North Sea at Whitby as “momentous”. Their work towards this release had been two years in the making, after so many shellfish deaths along the coast and tons of dead and dying crustaceans washing up the shores at Whitby and the surrounding coastline. So this release is even more critical.
Whitby's historic fishing heritage was built on a vast amount of white fish. However, the UK's white fish industry collapsed through overfishing and mismanagement, making crab and lobster potting boats popular. Both are sought-after products that continue to reach a high price today.
This resulted in pressure on local lobster stocks. Suppose this pressure continues and the lobster industry collapses. In that case, this will result in fishing boats and hundreds of people out of work. Potentially putting an end to a historic fishing community that has made Whitby famous worldwide.
There have been wash-up events that have impacted the surrounding coastline. They are a stark reminder of the vulnerability of our oceans. The concern and sadness of seeing the death of marine wildlife have been felt throughout coastal communities.
Whitby Lobster Hatchery want to be part of the solution, and you can help too.
Statistically, only 1% of lobster larvae will survive even though lobsters produce up to 20,000 eggs per cycle and release them into the water. Whitby Lobster Hatchery develop the eggs safely in their hatchery to eliminate early risks by growing the eggs until they are juvenile lobsters.
This intervention will increase the larval survival rate to 30 – 50%. They are then released into the sea yearly to fortify the current lobster population. The released juvenile lobsters will take 5-7 years to grow to market size; however, they reach sexual maturity and release their eggs during this time.
This conservation method protects lobster fishing in Whitby by strengthening local lobster stocks.
How you can help to make a difference…
Whitby Lobster Hatchery has set up a crowdfunding page where you can donate and support their important work.
Over the past 18 months, they have been planning, designing and preparing the hatchery they are now ready to install, but they need your help. Your donation will go directly to paying the deposit for the hatchery equipment. They will then be able to get the full system installed in early summer 2022.
If you can donate, please follow this link to their crowdfunding page where you can learn more and support them.
Thank you to Glenn Kilpatrick, The Whitby Photographer for use of his photo's in this article.