Safeguarding future of lobster fishing

More than 1,000 egg-bearing female lobsters are being released into the North Sea.

The Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority is stocking the coastline from the Tyne up to the border and six nautical miles from the shore.

The lobsters will have a v-notch placed in their inner tail flaps, which take about two years to grow out, enabling each notched female to potentially release two clutches of eggs before being eligible for capture again.

A NIFCA byelaw makes it an offence to land a v-notched lobster.

This is the 13th year that the authority, formerly the Northumberland Sea Fisheries Committee, has carried out this project.

Since the start of the scheme, positive feedback has been received from local fishermen who say that the number of immature lobsters has increased, which bodes well for the future of the fishery.

Chief IFCA officer Al Browne said: “This has been an excellent project and since it started in 2000, over 12,000 lobsters have been re-released back into the sea.

“Without the help of the local wholesalers who take time to sort and keep the egg-bearing lobsters in very good condition for the authority, this project would not be possible.”