BBC Radio 4 ‘On Your Farm’ feature

For anyone who wasn’t up and listening in at 6am on Sunday 16th October 2016, here is Radio 4’s latest piece on the work of the lobster hatchery.

On Your Farm

BBC Presenter, Ruth Sanderson joins a Cornish lobster fisherman as a busy summer season comes to an end. Calum Greenhalgh fishes out of Port Isaac with his son, William, and brings the catch straight from the sea to the family cafe.

It’s a lovely interview and really captures the Port Isaac scene with the sound of waves lapping up the beach, the sound of the winch, winding the boat up the beach to see the catch of the day.  It sets the scene.  Ruth joins William to deliver the catch direct to the Mitchelin star restaurant, Nathan Outlaw’s at the top of the hill and to Calum’s café ‘Fresh from the Sea’ (literally, fresh from the sea).   Calum is a perfect example of many of Cornwall’s small fishing boats where sustainability and conservation play a part in their daily activities.

Calum talks about the various conservation measures in place; size limitation, no-take on berried hens, voluntary v-notching scheme but he explains how he made the conscious decision not to get a faster, bigger boat but to get a higher value from the catch by selling directly through his own fishmonger and café, and to local restaurants.   William is keen to continue the family tradition but of course there are concerns for the future of stocks.


Dr Jacky Tyler Hatchery Technician v-notching Big Moma before we release her back into the sea

Callum is one of a handful of fishermen that are licenced by CIFCA (Cornwall Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority) to land berried hens and that’s because he donates them to us at the hatchery where we hold the brood stock in our maternity ward until the eggs hatch.  Once the eggs are spent (hatched) we return the female lobsters to the fishermen.

At this stage in the interview Ruth introduces Dr Charlie Ellis here at the hatchery.  Charlie takes her on a guided tour around the facility in Padstow to explain about our stock enhancement programme of raising and releasing baby lobsters back in the sea.  We have a co-dependency with fishermen.  We rely on them to bring in berried hens, they help us to release the juveniles (they know where the best lobster ground is and they have a boat to get us out there) and we are helping to enhance the fishery.  Over the last 18 years since the hatchery was built, we have been working with fishermen to nurture a farming / reseeding mentality as opposed to a hunting mentality and we feel fishermen like Calum are certainly thinking more long term.  They have an interest in the sustainability of the fishery.

As Charlie nicely summises ‘we can’t expect nature to sustain itself at the rate we are taking them’.

It’s a perfect example of where research and marine conservation is actively working with industry and the people on the ground (or on the sea in this instance)!

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