Whitby Lobster Hatchery releases 822 juvenile lobsters into North Sea

Release of 822 baby lobsters by Whitby Lobster Hatchery off Redcar.picture: Tessa Bunney (Photo: Tessa Bunney)
Release of 822 baby lobsters by Whitby Lobster Hatchery off Redcar.picture: Tessa Bunney (Photo: Tessa Bunney)

The momentous occasion marks the first release of young lobsters north of Whitby since the devastating mass mortality events that sent shockwaves through the coastal community.

Whitby Lobster Hatchery, a pioneering institution at the forefront of North East lobster conservation, has been tirelessly working towards the revival of lobster populations, which are under threat due to various environmental factors, including pollution and fishing pressure.

They say the successful release of these young lobsters represents a beacon of hope for the future of this vital crustacean species in the North Sea.

The hatchery, which is currently in its first year of operation, has been rearing juvenile lobsters at Whitby fish market.

This year they have released more than 8,000 lobsters mainly outside Whitby harbour but the team carefully selected and nurtured the juvenile lobsters to be released at Redcar for the first time.

By rearing the tiny lobsters in the hatchery ensures their best chance of survival and aims to boost numbers to ensure the populations are protected into the future.

Working with fishing vessel Distant Shore MH96 and skipper James Race the juvenile lobsters were safely released to the seabed.

James Race said “It’s a significant step forward for our community and the sustainability of our industry.

"To think it’s usually take take take from our ocean, it’s a great feeling to be putting something back.”

Joe Redfern, Manager of Whitby Lobster Hatchery, added: "The release of 822 juvenile lobsters is a testament to our commitment to the preservation of these iconic creatures and the restoration of their populations in the North Sea.

"Moving forwards we will release juvenile lobster along our coastline, so this release in Redcar shows our intention for years to come."

The 2021 mass mortality events raised alarms about the vulnerability of lobster populations and the urgent need for conservation efforts.

The release of the young lobsters serves as a reminder of the critical role that hatcheries and conservation organisations play in safeguarding marine biodiversity.

Whitby Lobster Hatchery is collaborating with fishermen to promote responsible lobster fishing practices and protect the habitat of these creatures.

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