We are so excited to launch our brand new collaboration with The National Lobster Hatchery. For every lobster swimsuit sold, a baby lobster will be released back into the sea.
The National Lobster Hatchery is a marine conservation, research and education charity based in Padstow, Cornwall UK. With over 75% of the worlds major fisheries over-exploited, depleted or recovering (lobster stocks have already collapsed in the Mediterranean and Scandinavia), conservation of the European Lobster is vital. Throughout the UK, there are laws in place to protect female (hen) lobsters that are carrying eggs (berried), this means that they cannot be sold and must be put back into the sea if caught. The NLH and some local fisherman have obtained special permission to take some of these berried hen lobsters from the sea into the hatchery, where they will be taken care of on the "maternity ward". Once all the eggs have hatched, the mother lobster will be released back into the sea.
A hen lobster can carry 20,000 eggs under its abdomen, however only 1 is expected to survive in the wild. Using skilful and modern technology, the NLH can increase this survival rate to 1000.
The hatchery carefully nurtures and rears the baby lobsters through their most vulnerable stage of life (when they are part of the plankton and a target for a lot of predators).
When the lobsters are 3 months old and measuring 1cm, they will be released around the coast of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Although they are still tiny, they have a much higher chance of survival as they instinctively bury down into the gravel on the seabed for the next 2 years of their life. Researchers in Norway estimate that hatchery reared lobsters have a 30-80% better chance of survival. Learn more and go behind the scenes at the hatchery.
If you'd like to meet the baby lobsters and see the NLH conservation work in action, it's centre in Padstow is open year round to visitors. You can also adopt your very own lobster and track it's journey into the wild.
Images: c/o Johnny Fenn + Corey Holt
References: The National Lobster Hatchery