NIFCA helps Amble Lobster Hatchery welcome back visitors after lockdown

NIFCA recently helped Amble Lobster Hatchery welcome back visitors when Covid-19 restrictions eased with the launch of a new interactive visitor experience.

Located in the Northumberland Seafood Centre, the popular visitor attraction closed to the public during lockdown.  

NIFCA awarded the hatchery a grant of £2,000 towards the refurbishment its public information centre. The hatchery is dedicated to enhancing lobster stocks on the Northumberland Coast and educating people of all ages on the process of rearing lobsters, from the eggs hatching to the young lobsters being ready for release.

Visitors can see a lobster’s lifecycle first-hand. From female lobsters ‘hens’ carrying thousands of eggs before they hatch, and once born, how they move to larvae tanks, then into juvenile tanks in preparation for release back into the North Sea.

The hatchery is helping to sustain the local lobster populations and also gives visitors opportunities to participate in lobster release events.

Hatchery manager, Andrew Gooding, said: “It’s great to be able to welcome back visitors and show them the important work we do. The funding from NIFCA has been instrumental in helping us to update the centre and ensure it provides people with a safe and enjoyable experience. The centre is designed to be as interactive, informative, and engaging as possible. It is packed full of information highlighting the importance of sea fisheries sustainability and I highly recommend a visit.”

Entry to the centre is free of charge but it does encourage donations to support its work.

NIFCA chief executive, Mike Hardy, adds: “The Authority is delighted to support Amble Hatchery. Potting for lobsters is an important fishery in the Northumberland district; the hatchery is highlighting the significance of protecting and ensuring the longevity of this fascinating marine animal and the importance of sustainable fisheries.”

In addition to the grant to support the Seafood Centre and hatchery’s important work to replenish local lobster stocks, NIFCA also donated an interpretation board to the visitor centre.