How it works
The Hatchery rears juvenile lobsters from eggs collected daily from local female lobster stock, known as “berried hens”. These eggs will then be reared and nurtured through larval stages into juveniles within the hatchery, later released back to the sea when they have passed the most vulnerable stage of their development, at around three months.
The Hatchery works closely with local fishermen who catch for us and later release the berried hens. As it can take five years or more for a female lobster to become able to produce eggs, which she can do so for an estimated forty years, we highlight to the public the potential risks of over fishing our UK lobster stock, especially females.
As the lobsters grow they moult and are moved through a system of tanks until they become juveniles. At this point we rear them in individual containers as lobsters are cannibalistic. They are fed a carefully monitored diet, which ensures they receive enough nutrients whilst not polluting the water in which they are being raised. We take filtered sea-water directly from the Forth, which our Technicians monitor to make sure the water quality and temperature is maintained.
Once they are ready to be released the juveniles spend time acclimatising to sea temperatures in a tank in our hen room. From there they are released back into the Firth of Forth by divers onto the sea floor or by technicians into rock pools at low tide.