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Orkney Lobster Hatchery
Lobster Hatchery

Orkney Lobster Hatchery began in 1985 and now releases over 60,000 juvenile lobsters annually, and is working to create a sustainable lobster fishery around the Orkney Isles. In 2002 the hatchery was rebuilt, and through its innovative design has become the most successful lobster hatchery in Europe.
In 2006 Orkney Sustainable Fisheries took over the management and funding of the hatchery.

The hatchery has developed innovations in bio-filtration, re-circulation  technology and intensive ‘lobster –Aquahives’ which could soon produce nearly a million juveniles per season, rather than tens of thousands. This is the only way to break the perception that fishery restocking can only be of limited impact due to the relatively high cost of producing lobster juveniles in hatcheries.

The work in the hatchery has gone hand in hand with new methods of deployment to the fishery using local fishermen, releasing the juveniles as part of their normal working day. In return the fishermen have gained confidence in this method of stock enhancement to the extent that – through major Orkney shellfish merchants – they are now willing to see a levy for each lobster caught go towards running the hatchery. 


This support by local levy is a major milestone for the hatchery, in its 12-year history, as it has now made a significant move towards being supported commercially.  The organisation realises that, in order to attract investment for a wider development of the hatchery and to further its groundbreaking work on true sustainability then it must get its message out to other fisher organisations, the seafood/food retail industry, consumers and all those interested in responsible exploitation of nature’s resources.

lobater life cycle

Saturday, 17 July, 2010 Orkney Lobster Hatchery all photos copyright Dennis Gowland