Earlier this month, I spent a week in Padstow in Cornwall with my family. While we were there, looking for an escape from a rainy day, we wandered into the National Lobster Hatchery for a look around.
The Hatchery is unique marine conservation, research and education charity. Small coastal communities, like Padstow, often rely on fishing, but with so many fishing spots severely depleted, the Hatchery is trying to help. They aim to conserve the lobster population through education of the public, research and nurturing baby lobsters.
In the visitor centre, you can learn about the strange life of a lobster, fishing and sustainable fishing. Lobsters are strange creatures, and you can see several fully grown ones here and learn about how they grow, breed and survive. It’s also wonderful to see so much information about the struggles our fishing industry is facing, and what we as consumers can do to help.
The Hatchery is also carrying out very important research into lobster biology, which will help them to maintain the lobster population in the future.
The most important work the centre is doing is looking after the little guys above. The Hatchery takes in female lobsters with eggs, hatches them, and grows the babies. This means they are protected during their most vulnerable life stage, giving more lobsters a better chance of survival than they would have in the world. As soon as they’re ready, the lobsters are released back into the sea. In2014, the National Lobster Hatchery released 53,000 juveniles into the sea around Cornwall.
The demand for seafood is rising, which will put more strain on our fish stocks. Charities like the Hatchery are doing amazing work to keep our seas and our fishermen going.
For a whopping £3 you can adopt your very own lobster, and cover some of the cost of his care before he’s ready to be released. Dave and I adopted a pair, and named them Rogue and Gambit. They should be big enough to take to the seas in December, and I’ll be able to use the Hatchery’s website to see where they were released.
Want to help too? You can adopt your own lobster online here, or choose to eat seafood from fishmongers and restaurants who take a small donation to ‘buy one, set one free’. You eat a tasty lobster and help the Hatchery and places like it replace that lobster in the sea. You can also keep an eye on the most sustainable way to buy and eat fish on the Good Fish Guide.