"The Sea-Changers grant in 2019 enabled us to buy more lobsters from suppliers with the knock on effect that it increased our output threefold."
The Firth of Forth Lobster Hatchery is a charity, relying on grants and public donations, based at the harbour in North Berwick, that works towards the protection of the European Lobster; its habitat, life cycle and education about its importance to local economies .
Lobsters can take up to seven years to get to a legal catch size and are especially vulnerable to predators in their first months of life with barely 1% surviving to reach adulthood. Threats from marine pollution and overfishing leave Scottish lobster stocks at risk from collapse, as has happened in Europe and Norway.
Rearing from larvae to juvenile, before releasing thousands back into the Firth of Forth each season the Hatchery relies on local fishermen supplying mature female lobsters, known as a “Berried Hens”, for production of the lobster larvae.
Sea-Changers funding help enhance breeding stocks by allowing the Hatchery to pay fishermen for bigger, better berried hens so they can release even more lobsters back to sea. 'V Notching' refers to the process by which lobsters are marked prior to release and cannot be legally caught until the lobster reaches an age when the notch has moulted out.