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An appeal to release thousands of baby lobsters in Cornwall

An appeal to release thousands of baby lobsters in Cornwall

Published by Emma Carton at 8:26am 14th September 2019. (Updated at 8:43am 14th September 2019)

The National Lobster Hatchery in Padstow has launched a Crowdfunder to help release thousands of baby lobsters around the Cornish coast.

The campaign, 'Releasing Larry', aims to release thousands of 1-3-year-old lobsters to support the sustainability of stocks.

Over the last 20 years the NLH have released over 250,000 inch-long (2-3-month-old) baby lobsters back into the wild, to help conserve vulnerable lobster populations. 

The charity is always looking to improve the impact of its marine conservation work and says 'Releasing Larry' is absolutely vital to refine their stock enhancement work.

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A Crowdfunder has been launched to help release thousands of baby lobsters across Cornwall. Photo: National Lobster Hatchery

What will the project do?

Following the successful completion of the Lobster Grower 2 (LG2) project, the NLH now have thousands of carefully nurtured, hand-sized lobsters, growing in environmentally-enriched sea-based homes. 

The LG2 project was globally recognised as leading the field in sea-based lobster aquaculture and during its three years run time, was the largest lobster research project in Europe. 

The sea-based systems in which these lobsters have been reared has provided a transition step between the hatchery and the wild, producing larger, fitter, healthier lobsters that will therefore have a brilliant chance of survival following release. 

Getting these uniquely eco-conditioned lobsters off their mariculture site and out to the wild will not only enhance local populations but it will open up a huge range of research opportunities in tracking their progress.

To fully implement this project the NLH need to raise £40,000 which will cover costs including: 

  1.  The hiring of specialised vessels which are capable of hauling and handling the sea-based systems used to grow the lobsters. 
  2. Employing qualified sea-going crew with technical expertise to remove lobsters from the containers at sea, undertake scientific data collection to inform release strategies and preparing the lobsters for transportation to the release sites. 
  3. The costs associated with transportation of the lobsters to release sites across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. These include a land-based team of lobster exerts to carefully monitor and care for the lobsters on their journey, temperature controlled equipment and facilities to ensure lobster survival on land, as well as the further associated costs of release. 
  4. The cleaning and recycling of the sea-based systems so that they can be re-used in the future.
releasing larry 4
The National Lobster Hatchery has launched the campaign, 'Releasing Larry' to help protect stocks in Cornwall. Photo: National Lobster Hatchery

Dr Carly Daniels, Head of Production, Science and Development at the NLH, said: "These enigmatic creatures may not be cute to the untrained eye but with the public's help, we can ensure these charismatic crustaceans have the best chance of survival and are returned to the wild to help support the sustainability of their natural populations".

Trevor Broome, Chief Operating Officer added: "By donating £30, the price of ordering a lobster in a restaurant, you will be doing your bit by putting a 2-year old lobster back into the wild. 

"Supporting sustainability of the natural stocks is of vital importance for future generations especially in the supporting of livelihoods in vulnerable coastal communities and any donations, however small, will go directly towards this mission".

releasing larry 1
The National Lobster Hatchery's fundraising campaign runs until mid-October and it says every donation will make a difference. Photo: National Lobster Hatchery

How will donations help?

"Since the Releasing Larry campaign went live on August 12th, we have received a large amount of support on the campaign page.

"NLH are offering some fantastic rewards for donations to the Releasing Larry campaign. 

"These include a virtual lobster kiss for a £10 donation and the release of a 3-year-old lobster for a £50 donation. 

"For exceptionally big donations, the NLH is offering some truly unique rewards, including the chance to learn how to grow lobsters yourself by shadowing a hatchery technician as well as attending a juvenile lobster release with the NLH research team".

Jake Scolding, Project Manager

The 'Releasing Larry' campaign went live on Thursday 12th August and will be active until the beginning of October. 

You can read more information and check how to donate here.

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