Early indications from lobster counts off the Northumberland coast show ‘encouraging’ numbers of juveniles.
Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NIFCA) is currently carrying out the study, which began in October and has been running throughout this year.
NIFCA officers have joined fishermen to conduct observer trips from Amble, Seahouses, Blyth and North Shields.
The survey aims to collect information on local lobster stocks, to help to ensure their long-term sustainability.
All lobsters brought up in the pots are measured – including the discarded part of the catch consisting of undersized, v-notched, crippled or soft lobsters – and factors such as gender, missing limbs and presence of eggs are recorded.
This year to date, more than 4,000 lobsters have been measured. NIFCA says that while it is too early to draw conclusions about any fluctuations in the stock from previous years, the number of juvenile lobsters measured this year is encouraging and indicates a good recruitment potential for the future.
The data will be used to inform future management of the fishery and for use in studies conducted by Newcastle University.
Lobster is the most significant commercial shellfish targeted by fishers in the NIFCA district.
NIFCA has thanked everyone who has supported the study so far.