The first batch of baby lobsters has been released into the North Sea, as part of a new venture to promote and sustain local fish stocks.
A lobster hatchery opened its doors at Amble’s Northumberland Seafood Centre earlier this year; providing a fascinating visitor experience, as well as having a serious conservation purpose.
The venue houses the holding, larvae and juvenile tanks, alongside all the required chillers, filters and pumps, to create a fully operational hatchery for the Northumberland coast.
A female lobster can carry upwards of 20,000 eggs under her body for more than nine months, but once hatched, the vast majority will not survive in the wild.
At the hatchery, the eggs are protected in tanks for several weeks while they grow and start to look like mini lobsters.
Then, with the help of Northumberland Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority, the baby lobsters are returned to the sea; their positions recorded for long-term research.
And on Monday morning, the project celebrated a major milestone, as the first batch of baby lobsters – about 100 or so – were released, placed onto the seabed near to Coquet Island.
Children from Amble Links school and the town’s Brambles nursery were invited to the centre to help mark the occasion.
Centre manager Andrew Gooding said: “It was fantastic to release the first baby lobsters; a significant step for the Amble hatchery, which aims to be informative, engaging and help to ensure future stocks for the local fishing industry.”
He added: “We aim to release the babies each month.”