65. Native Lobster Breeding. Wildlife of The Solway
Wildlife of The Solway – 65 – Native Lobster Breeding. For the last five years the Lake District Coast Aquarium has been running a lobster hatchery as part of the aquarium display sequence.
As a result of its successful operation we have released several thousand juveniles back into West Cumbrian coastal waters. Apart from the fact that this makes a fascinating and very educational exhibit, helping bolster the numbers of this important predatory animal is also good for local marine ecology and potentially helps a significant commercial lobster fishing industry.
Lobsters as a natural resource have considerable regulatory protection, with a lower size limit for animals brought to market being rigorously enforced as a way of ensuring that a viable adult breeding population is maintained. On top of this female lobsters that are carrying eggs may not be landed, so in order to source the few we need for our hatchery, specific permits are needed for the number of animals required and the boat being used to catch and land them.
Once the females carrying the eggs (known as berried hens) are spent (eggs hatched) they are returned to the sea whence they came. Our hatchery equipment swirls these hatchlings (larvae) about in a fog of minute food particles until they are large enough to be released back to the sea, having passed their most vulnerable life phase in safety.
How many of these actually survive is currently impossible to ascertain, but in future it might be possible to match the DNA profile of released baby lobsters with adults landed a few years later.
Discover more about the wonderful wildlife of our sea at Lake District Coast Aquarium, Maryport
Or view more of our Wildlife of The Solway series here…
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