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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 January 2007, 10:21 GMT
New funding for lobster hatchery
Lobster larvae: Picture National Lobster Hatchery
The hatchery protects larvae from predators and pollution
The National Lobster Hatchery in Cornwall has secured more funding for its continuing work to preserve stocks for local fishermen.

There have been concerns the popularity of lobsters in restaurants across the South West could threaten the species.

The financial support is from the Combined Universities in Cornwall using 18,500 of Objective One money.

The hatchery in Padstow said the funding was vital to allow its research to carry on.

Pregnant female lobsters are brought to the hatchery by local fishermen, allowing them to release their delicate offspring in captivity, free from predators. The juveniles are raised to a size where they can be released back into the sea.

Immune systems

The hatchery released about 10,000 juvenile lobsters into coastal waters around the region in 2006, although it takes several years for them to reach maturity.

Its breeding programme was nearly wiped out in 2003, following pollution in the River Camel, and research is being carried out into the creatures' immune systems.

Spokesman Dom Boothroyd said: "We're going to look at the effect of several substances which can stimulate the non-specific immune response of the lobsters and the juveniles.

"We are also going to hopefully develop a pelleted diet for the lobsters."

The hatchery is also funded by its visitor centre where people can see the processes and learn about sustainable fishery.




SEE ALSO
Hatchery aims to protect lobsters
22 Mar 05 |  Cornwall
Baby lobsters killed by pollution
26 Mar 04 |  Cornwall
Cash lifeline for lobster hatchery
07 Oct 03 |  Cornwall

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