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Conservation

We aim to protect Whitby’s fishing heritage by conserving the local lobster populations.

To do this we will release 100,000 juvenile lobsters into the sea; maintaining ecological balance and protecting the region’s lobster industry for generations to come.

Wild caught egg-bearing lobsters will be brought into the hatchery, we will protect the juveniles over their most vulnerable period of their life cycle before releasing back into the wild.

Step 1

Female Lobsters

Egg-bearing female lobsters brought into the hatchery by the local fishing community

Step 2

Lobster Eggs

Lobster eggs are released & captured in the hatchery system.

Step 3

Juvenile Lobsters

The juvenile lobsters are developed in the hatchery increasing survival rates compared to the wild.

Step 4

Released To The Wild

‘Stage 4’ lobster juvenile are released back into the wild to conserve lobster populations.

Lobster Populations

Fishing Livelihoods

Whitby's Heritage

Lobster Populations

Maintain Ecological Balance

Like all the ports along the Yorkshire coast, lobster fishing has replaced the white fish industry as the main target species. Lobster now make up the majority of income for our fishing communities.

Yorkshire lobsters are some of the best in the world. Highly desired by seafood markets across Europe. We want to make sure these species are healthy, abundant and sustainable.

Whitby's fleet of potting boats catch around 100,000 lobster each year. We want to start giving back to ensure the lobster populations are protected and the valuable ecological balance is maintained.

Lobsters produce up to 20,000 eggs per cycle, which are released into the water as larvae. However, statistically, only 1% of these larvae survive. By developing the eggs safely in our hatchery, we can eliminate many early risks by growing the eggs until they are juvenile lobsters, mature enough to be independent, bottom-dwelling creatures. This intervention alone will dramatically increase the larval survival rate to 30 - 50%.

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Once they’re ready, we’ll release these juvenile lobsters into the sea where they will fortify the existing lobster population year on year. Juvenile lobsters take 5-7 years to grow to market size and during this time they will reach sexual maturity and begin to release eggs of their own. At the Yorkshire Lobster Hatchery, we believe that this conservation method, alongside effective management, will protect lobster fishing in Whitby by strengthening local lobster stocks and securing jobs for Whitby’s fishing fleet. 

Fishing Livelihoods

Increasing pressures

Fishing in Whitby has a long history and heritage. Today the fishing industry along the Yorkshire coast is the largest within England with Whitby ranking at the 3rd largest port for lobster landings.

At the lobster hatchery project we want to see this continued for many generations to come. We aims to protect Whitby’s fishing heritage by conserving the local lobster populations. To do this we will release 100,000 juvenile lobsters into the sea; offsetting the number of lobsters caught by Whitby’s fishing fleet and protecting the region’s lobster industry for generations to come.

Whitby’s prestigious fishing heritage was built upon an abundance of white fish, however, the 1980s saw the UK’s white fish industry collapse through overfishing and mismanagement. Subsequently, considerable investment was made in crab and lobster potting boats, as both are highly sought-after products and continue to fetch a high price today.

Inevitably, this has resulted in increased pressure on local lobster stocks and we are concerned that history is in danger of repeating itself. If the lobster industry does collapse, just like the whitefish industry only 40 years ago, dozens of fishing boats and hundreds of people will be out of work, effectively putting an end to a historic fishing community that has made Whitby famous around the world.

Whitby's Heritage

Whitby's Heart

Rich in maritime history Whitby lives and breathes ocean exploration and coastal living. We want to promote and celebrate this history and heritage throughout our project.

Today the fishing community provides the heart of the heritage in Whitby. A heritage which should be celebrated, promoted and protected.

It is our ambition to ensuring Whitby's heart, history and heritage is conserved for generations to come.

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Contact Details

Whitby Lobster Hatchery,
Pier Road,
Whitby,
North Yorkshire,
YO21 3PU,
United Kingdom

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