Cornish shellfish merchants W. Harvey & Sons has joined the National Lobster Hatchery’s ‘Buy One, Set One Free’ scheme. Known as ‘BOSOF’ for short, this sustainable seafood scheme commits to funding the raising and release of baby lobsters back into the coastal waters helping to conserve fragile stocks.
As the most valuable fish caught in the UK, European lobsters are worth around £45 million a year as part of a major export industry. Without them, small coastal communities would suffer financially, putting considerable fishing pressure on stock, at the risk of vulnerability and, ultimately, collapse.
Julian Harvey, Director, said:
“The work of the National Lobster Hatchery is so important, to the marine species but also to the ongoing development of our industry. The program they have put in place is vital as the demand for shellfish continues to rise across the UK and beyond. We are proud to be a supporter of such an important scheme.”
The National Lobster Hatchery (NLH) aims to help conserve native lobster populations and ultimately protect the long-term future of vulnerable marine species, the seafood industry and all who rely on it.
This is done by a series of education and research outputs, coupled with a unique and innovative lobster stock enhancement programme; this involves raising baby lobsters at the hatchery until they reach a life stage at which they are better able to survive in the wild. At this point, NLH release them back into our waters with the help of local fishermen and dive schools, helping to replenish natural stocks.
NLH’s innovative hatchery techniques help improve juvenile lobster survival rate by around 1,000 times, compared to those born naturally in the wild. As well as helping to conserve vulnerable stocks, it’s developing techniques that will help to restock a fishery should it experience collapse.
Clare Stanley, Business Development Manager at the NLH said:
“We could not be more delighted and grateful to welcome W. Harvey & Sons onboard our ‘Buy one, set one Free’ scheme. It’s a fantastic way for responsible, forward thinking seafood suppliers and their customers to literally put back and do their bit to help sustain our vital yet vulnerable seafood.
“W. Harvey & Sons has always been passionate about the NLH’s marine conservation work and they have helped our mission already by supplying ‘berried hens’ (female lobsters with eggs) to the hatchery. To have them now commit their ongoing support by joining ‘BOSOF’, especially at time when we are all facing our greatest challenges to date, really does mean the world! It has given the NLH a much-needed boost and it will significantly help us to continue our pioneering work to help safeguard our fragile marine species and the many coastal communities and livelihoods they support.”
As a global centre of expertise, the NLH’s innovative work is now recognised on the world stage and the NLH visitor education centre in Padstow welcomes over 45,000 visitors each year.
A female lobster can carry in the region of 20,000 eggs but only one of these eggs is expected to survive in the wild. The NLH conservation programme helps improve this survival rate by up to 1,000 times and released more than 260,000 juvenile lobsters into coastal waters to date, which is making a positive impact on the sustainability of Cornwall’s lobster fishery and the communities that it supports.
Find more information at www.nationallobsterhatchery.co.uk