We have been extremely busy over the past year. Working to get the lobster hatchery up and running, ensuring the conservation of our marine ecosystems and the protection of our local fishing communities.
Want to hear what we have been up to over the past year? Check out our year 1 report (link below).
Now we are finally ready to install the hatchery and start releasing juvenile lobsters into the sea. We are so close but we need your help to get the project up and running. Support for us is support for our local fishing communities, marine environment and local economy.
Your donation will go directly to paying the deposit for the hatchery equipment. We will then be able to get the full system install early summer 2022.
Who We Are
At the Whitby Lobster Hatchery we aim to release juvenile lobsters into the ocean. Conserve lobster populations and protecting fishing livelihoods into the future. We stand by three core values:
The Whitby Lobster Hatchery aims to protect Whitby’s fishing heritage by conserving the local lobster populations. To do this we will release 100,000 juvenile lobsters into the sea; offsetting the number of lobsters caught by Whitby’s fishing fleet and protecting the region’s lobster industry for generations to come.
Alongside the hatchery, we intend to provide an educational and interactive outreach and education program. Working alongside the upcoming Marine Discovery Whitby Centre, w e look forward to welcoming members of the public and school groups to learn about the life of lobsters, Whitby’s unique fishing heritage and how much difference marine conservation can make.
Our state-of-the-art hatchery system will also serve as an institute of research in partnership with local universities, offering a reliable source of current data as well as invaluable experience for marine conservation students through a series of internship programs. We hope to connect and collaborate with lobster hatcheries across the country to understand more about the life of this incredible and valuable creature.
Whitby’s prestigious fishing heritage was built upon an abundance of white fish, however, the UK’s white fish industry collapse through overfishing and mismanagement. Subsequently, considerable investment was made in crab and lobster potting boats, as both are highly sought-after products and continue to fetch a high price today.
Inevitably, this has resulted in increased pressure on local lobster stocks and we are concerned that history is in danger of repeating itself. If the lobster industry does collapse, just like the whitefish industry only recent years ago, dozens of fishing boats and hundreds of people will be out of work, effectively putting an end to a historic fishing community that has made Whitby famous around the world.
Recent wash up events which have impacted our coastline for the past 6/7 months have been a sobering reminder of the vulnerability of our oceans. The concern and sadness seeing the death of our marine wildlife has been felt throughout of costal communities. We believe we can be part of the solution.
Lobsters produce up to 20,000 eggs per cycle, which are released into the water as larvae. However, statistically, only 1% of these larvae survive. By developing the eggs safely in our hatchery, we can eliminate many early risks by growing the eggs until they are juvenile lobsters, mature enough to be independent, bottom-dwelling creatures. This intervention alone will dramatically increase the larval survival rate to 30 - 50%.
Once they’re ready, we’ll release these juvenile lobsters into the sea where they will fortify the existing lobster population year on year. Juvenile lobsters take 5-7 years to grow to market size and during this time they will reach sexual maturity and begin to release eggs of their own. At the Whitby Lobster Hatchery, we believe that this conservation method, alongside effective management, will protect lobster fishing in Whitby by strengthening local lobster stocks and securing jobs for Whitby’s fishing fleet.
Funding this project will enable us to get the full hatchery system installed this summer.
Working with our hatchery specialist we nearly have everything in place.. one more step to go.
Your donation we go directly to the deposit to get the lobster hatchery equipment.
We will then be able to get the full system installed early summer 2022.
Photo (above) by Polly A. Baldwin