National Lobster Hatchery, Improving sustainability in aquaculture

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  • Post published:14 March 2022
  • Post category:Swac

The National Lobster Hatchery demonstrates the potential for using Sea Water Air Conditioning systems  as part of the project EuroSWAC.

The National Lobster Hatchery (NLH) is a project partner on the pioneering EuroSWAC project. it is one of many exciting projects currently being undertaken by the NLH’s research, development and innovation department. The NLH is acting as a EuroSWAC demonstration site for the research and development work being undertaken by the project consortium. It will contibute to improve sustainability of processes through innovative Sea Water Air Conditioning technologies.

Who are the National Lobster Hatchery?

The NLH is a charity, set up in 2000 in response to the declining lobster stocks seen around South West UK. Their work is set against a backdrop of complete stock collapse in Scandinavian countries which have not recovered to this day. The Hatchery has 3 main charitable outputs:

  1. CONSERVATION:  Operation of a stock enhancement program for the European Lobster within Cornish  inshore waters, to help prevent stock collapse and support stock sustainability.
  2. RESEARCH:  Undertaking pioneering research, development and Innovation work that will assess the impact of our stocking program and further develop stocking and culture techniques.
  3. EDUCATION:  Raising awareness of fisheries sustainability issues and their potential solutions, to encourage responsibility at every level of the chain; sourcing to consumption.
Picture by Corey Holt – Lobster juveniles being cultured as part of the National Lobster Hatchery’s stock enhancement program

The NLH’s main site is based on the quayside in Padstow where there are the production systems, office spaces and a visitor centre. This centre is used for educating the public about the work the charity undertakes, including all aspects of marine conservation and fisheries sustainability. This is also where the bulk of the charitable revenue is generated.

In 2016 a satellite hatchery (situated in 2 shipping containers on the south quay) was developed at Newlyn Harbour to increase the production of lobsters for the stock enhancement program. The Newlyn hatchery also provides a valuable resource in allowing the NLH to undertake research, development and Innovation.

Since the NLH was established, research has been a top priority

“ EuroSWAC is the latest in long line of research projects that the National Lobster Hatchery has been involved in. Since the NLH was established, research has been a top priority, focusing on a diverse range of subjects from understanding stock enhancement, improving culture techniques, developing culture technology as well as lobster biology and physiology. In doing so the Hatchery has formed some strong academic links with domestic and international universities and institutes. Indeed, the NLH has established a reputation on a global scale of expertise in the field of lobster research. During the EuroSWAC project, we are looking forward to developing our close relationship with the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth as well as forming new European links with the project consortium. The NLH is also very excited about undertaking research in the field of renewables, improving the environmental sustainability of our work  is extremely important to us as a conservation charity.”

Carly Daniels – Head of Production, Science and Development

Role of the NLH in the EuroSWAC project

As a marine conservation charity, environmental sustainability is always at the forefront of how the NLH operate. EUROSWAC fits in perfectly with what the organization is striving to achieve – a more energy efficient and sustainable way of conducting our operations.

Since the NLH was established in the year 2000, aquaculture technology for growing lobsters has changed very little. As standard in aquatic culture, the seawater being used in the life support systems for growing juvenile lobsters has always been temperature controlled by the use of chiller units. These units heat and cool the water as required. The disadvantage of these units is that they are not very energy efficient and use a lot of electricity but are essential for keeping the lobsters happy and healthy. By using a specifically design shallow water SWAC system, the NLH is hoping to demonstrate how temperature regulation of land-based aquaculture systems can become more efficient by using the natural cooling capabilities of seawater.

The hatchery site at Newlyn is 1 of 2 demonstration sites identified in the EuroSWAC project (the other being Brixham Laboratories). Along with Expert project partners (Doris Group and Deprofundis) the NLH will assist with the scoping and development of potential SWAC systems. Our objective is to install, test and monitoring suitable systems  at the demonstration facilities.

The NLH also brings its expertise from the aquaculture sector into the consortium. This knowledge will be valuable when scoping permission requirements for  siting and installation of SWAC systems, as well as identifying areas of the industry which could utilize SWAC system effluent in aquaculture production processes.

Picture by Chris Weston – The larval-rearing system at the National Lobster Hatchery’s Newlyn site.

The National Lobster Hatchery website and contact information.

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Carly Daniels – Partner PI and Head of Production Science and Development
Jake Scolding – Project Manager