Wanted to deliver hundreds of babies – volunteer divers

A A A

A lobster hatchery in the fishing village of Padstow in Cornwall says it has a novel scheme to re-populate seas of the south-west with thousands of the threatened crustaceans – but needs the help of willing divers.

The respected National Lobster Hatchery aims to boost the lobster population by hatching them under controlled conditions.

If the lobsters were left to hatch in the wild, the hatchery says, then only about 1 in 20,000 would reach adulthood. After three months in a nursery, the 2.5cm-long lobsters are to be released to specific sites around the south-west coast – which is where the divers come in.

They will carry hundreds of the juvenile lobsters down to the seabed, where they will be released together to give them the best chance of survival. Lobsters have a notoriously low survival rate in the early stages of their life cycle and are vulnerable to numerous predators.

The female lobster will carry fertilised eggs under her tail from between nine to 12 months until they hatch into a larval stage. Some experts estimate that of the thousands of eggs released by the mother, only 0.1 per cent will make it past the first four weeks of life to grow into adults. As if that wasn't enough, the blue-blooded crustaceans are also threatened by overfishing.

However, if the lobsters are raised in the hatchery, their chances of survival are vastly increased.

Apart from using divers, the hatchery also takes the lobsters down to the shore at low tide and releases them, and also uses fishermen.

The fishermen put trays of lobsters into lobster pots and lowers them to the seabed, where, the hatchery says, they are protected by the pot while being able to crawl out of the trays and on to the gravel below.

Another method is to use a tube, where the lobsters are piped directly on to the seabed.

As the hatchery says: "We nurture them through their most vulnerable stage in their life cycle (when they are part of the plankton) where there are a lot of predators."

The problem the hatcheries have is that it's impossible to tell whether the lobsters have grown up in the wild or are from the release scheme.

The solution US researchers came up with was essentially to release as many as possible in the hope of seeing a rise in overall numbers, a strategy which the hatchery in Padstow is also following.

If ever a town needed lobsters, it's Padstow. Known to some as "Padstein", it's home to several of Rick Stein's seafood restaurants. It remains to be seen whether the hatchery can keep pace with rapacious diners' desire for lobster.

Suggested Topics
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all