A Lobster Hatchery for Amble
A female lobster can carry 20,000 eggs under their body for over 9 months and after all that effort only one egg will survive to adulthood. We think she needs a little help!
At the hatchery we take local berried hens (the lobsters’ eggs look like berries and the female lobsters are known as berried hens) and capture the eggs as she releases them. The really dangerous time for young lobsters in the sea is the first few weeks after hatching when they become a tasty treat for anything swimming past. We keep them protected in our tanks and in the weeks they are with us the lobster larvae moult several times and start to look like mini lobsters. At this stage they are safe to return to the sea where they can burrow into the seabed to hide from things that might eat them.
The hatchery is not just a visitor attraction, but also an important project to help ensure future stocks of shellfish for the local fishing industry. Initially we will be helping lobsters, but we will be looking to work with crabs and langoustine in the future.
We have set up the hatchery to be as interactive, informative, and engaging as possible for all ages. Visitors can observe the whole process from the eggs hatching to the young lobsters being ready for release. We have specially shaped tanks with a water flow to help keep our babies apart (otherwise they eat each other). Kids (and brave adults) can get a hands on experience with our touch tank where our hatchery guides can introduce you to some local creatures – we only keep these for a few weeks at a time before they are returned to the sea, so you never know what you might find!
Why not combine your visit with a trip to our fresh fish bar and take home some tasty fish, shellfish or even lobster for your tea! There will also be regular events where the ‘juvenile’ lobsters are released back into the sea.
The expected launch date for the hatchery is Easter 2017. The existing Northumberland Seafood Centre will be refitted to accommodate the hatchery as well as continuing to sell fresh local seafood and run Creel Club.
The facility is planned to open 7 days a week, 10am-4pm*. There will be an entrance fee to visit the hatchery which will contribute towards operating costs and includes the adoption of your own little lobster.
*peak season only (Easter – October half-term), please refer to website for opening times outside of this period.