News from the BPA

Wells Harbour’s Lobster Hatchery

Wells Harbour Commission have funded a launched a project to ensure the sustainability of the local fishery. ‘s and local fishermen are funding and

The project is being jointly carried out and totally funded by Wells Harbour Commissioners and the local fishermen of Wells and being supported by other fishing communities on the North Norfolk Coast. 

The project launched in early spring 2021 and rears baby lobsters in a building on Wells Quayside in the effort to help protect the local fishing industry’s future, by aiming to make the fishery more sustainable and to create the opportunity for the fishermen to brand their product as sustainable., ie for every lobster caught many more will be released. 

The motto is Hatch, Rear & Return 

I thought you might like to see the attachment as it might help you all understand the process a little bit better, we will receive our lobsters at the Wells hatchery when berried underneath (pregnant) direct from our own fishing boats under a special legal fishery dispensation granted to the Harbour Commissioners.  

After a pregnant lobster has been caught by one of the local boats it will be landed and delivered into the hatchery, we can and then will speed up the process of the pregnancy by adjusting the water temp, but at any one time we will most likely have two or three pregnant lobsters in the tank waiting to hatch.  And eventually once the process starts, we will have larvae in other tanks and small baby looking lobsters in others, so the full cycle, ie pregnant, larvae & babies.  

The sea water will come fresh direct from the harbour and all the tanks will have a filtration system to keep the water moving/flowing/swirling 24/7 to simulate the lobsters in their natural environment.  

Once the baby lobsters reach either 3 months or 6 months old ( depend on our learning curve & success rate ) they will be released into the North Sea in several different agreed locations to carry on their development to maturity, ( this will be in their hundreds possible thousands each time ) the original once pregnant lobster will then be notched and also returned back to sea. 

As for the operating side of the hatchery the lobsters, larvae and babies all need to be fed up to four times a day, hence we will be looking to recruit volunteers to help us with that ( this could be as little or as much time as volunteers wish ) 

We also need the volunteers to engage with the visiting public as we intend to open the hatchery to all ( we will probably charge around £1 entry to help with feed costs ) we also are hoping long term to encourage local schools visits for education purposes regarding the fishing industry and their way of life, plus the coastal environment. ( All volunteers will be trained on how, what & when etc) 

I am happy for all to circulate this mail to anyone that you think may find the project of interest and anyone is invited to contact me on the number below or contact the Harbour Office direct on 01328711646 and speak to Simon Cooper ( he is more knowledgeable on the subject then me ),  if anyone would like more information, just want to discuss the project more or wish to become involved in any way.  ( Just to be clear we are not looking for financial support, as the agreement with the fishermen is this has to be a joint project with no outside funding or management and has to be solely a community run project ) 

Please feel free to spread the word far & wide, as this is a very exciting project for North Norfolk and especially Wells Next the Sea, being the first on the east coast in this format. 

ENVIRONMENTAL TAGS: Habitats and Biodiversity