Plan for lobster hatchery nets funding boost

Amble Harbour Village
Amble Harbour Village

Major funding has been secured to develop a lobster hatchery and aquaculture research centre in Amble, aiding the continued regeneration of the town.

Amble Development Trust is behind the £250,000 project, designed to boost the area’s tourism offering and explore environmental benefits.

The hatchery would aim to improve the sustainability of Amble’s fishery – which is increasingly turning to shellfish – by ensuring there is sufficient replacement growing stock to aid recuperation.

As part of the project, Newcastle University and Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority are looking at various scientific research developments, to see what can be done to ensure the area’s fisheries continue to grow and expand from larvae, through growth to harvesting.

Students would work in the aquaculture facility, which would double up as a visitor centre. It would be based in the Seafood Centre at Amble’s Harbour Village.

The Big Lottery Fund, Power to Change has pledged £180,000, while £70,000 has been granted by Northumberland County Council. It is hoped that the scheme will be in place in the New Year, with the creation of two jobs.

Julia Aston, of Amble Development Trust, said: “We hope the lobster hatchery will enhance the visitor experience in the town – it would be similar to the lobster hatchery in Padstow, Cornwall – and ensure that we have continued lobster numbers.

“It will create two jobs to start, but it is a long-term project and we hope there will be big spin-offs. Hopefully, after a year or two, jobs will be created in the fishing industry and in local shops and restaurants as visitor numbers go up. There will be volunteering opportunities too.”