In it’s third season of operation, with the lobster hatchery hive systems running well, a significant number of juveniles were released back into the wild on August 8th 2017
From egg to release time is a short period (8 – 12 weeks) in Summer. The following pictures show how this year’s lobster babies, nurtured here in SEA LAB were taken back and released at Ravenglass, this is the area where the females with eggs, called berried lobsters, were caught. We have 2 local fishermen with a license from DEFRA to catch and land female berried lobsters which otherwise is illegal.
Here in SEA LAB we witness final lobster egg development (A), then nurture them through a free swimming larval stage (B&D). After a couple of weeks in stacked trays in our ‘lobster hive’ (C)they are ready to go back to the wild. See how this is done next!
Lobster release day 08/08/17
The Lobster fishing boat has twin 75 hp motors to speed us out of the estuary to fishing grounds. This is where the lobster eggs were sourced about two months ago. We ‘borrowed’ the females until the eggs hatched, they were then returned back here.
10.30 am and we are ready to start the release. GPS allows Frank to put his boat precisely over good ground for the young lobsters, in this case stony ground with plenty of kelp. These little lobsters will rapidly orientate when they emerge at the end of the release pipeline and find shelter from predators.
Juvenile lobsters still in their hatchery trays are transported out in a large white bin.
Now for the exciting bit!
The 20m green hose has a weighted end so as the boat drifts along the baby lobsters are distributed into the kelp forest to start their adult lives. This is the surface view.
11.30 am, job done. About 1000 juveniles released, good luck to them all!
Contrast the size of the juvenile about to be released and an adult female landed shortly afterwards. She is already carrying eggs for hatching next year so is returned to the sea by the fisherman as the law demands.
Next Spring we may ‘borrow’ her to help with juvenile survival rate.