Padstow’s pioneering National Lobster Hatchery nominated for three aquaculture awards

Innovative conservation, research and education charity, the National Lobster Hatchery (NLH), based in Padstow, has reached the shortlist in three categories of the 2018 Scottish Marine Aquaculture Awards.

Aquaculture involves the cultivating of fish, crustaceans or molluscs under controlled conditions. The inaugural 2018 Scottish Marine Aquaculture Awards celebrate the achievements of a sector that is vitally important to the national economy as well as coastal communities that are economically fragile.

NLH Research and Development Manager, Dr Carly Daniels has been nominated for Shellfish Farm Manager of the Year and the pioneering Lobster Grower 2 (LG2) project that she is the Principal Investigator of, has been shortlisted in both the Stewardship & Sustainability and Innovation categories.

LG2 is a three-year collaborative research project that aims to investigate the potential of rearing juvenile European lobsters (Homarus gammarus) to even larger sizes in environmentally enriched sea-based container culture systems at St Austell Bay, where they are scientifically monitored for growth, diet, survival rates and health status in order to enhance understanding and develop expertise.

Funded by Innovate UK and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the LG2 research consortium is led by the NLH in collaboration with the University of Exeter, Westcountry Mussels of Fowey, The Centre for Environmental, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) and Falmouth University.

For Shellfish Farm Manager of the Year, organisations were invited to nominate their best hands-on shellfish site managers for consistent excellence across the board or exceptional achievement in one particular aspect of the individual’s responsibilities that had resulted in notable benefits.

The Stewardship & Sustainability Award will recognise an initiative that has contributed significantly to the sustainability of an organisation, and consider predator management and wild stock interactions; collaborative resource management with other marine businesses and engagement with local stakeholders.

The winner of the Innovation Award will have made a significant positive contribution to, among other factors, production performance, sustainability or product development through the use of existing or new technology, staff management and training, and farming practices.

The NLH encourages scientists and fishermen to work collaboratively to support the sustainability of Cornish lobster stocks,” explains Dr Carly Daniels. “We rear lobsters in hatchery culture systems from larvae that are naturally hatched by egg-bearing females to a juvenile stage of development and then release them back into the wild. LG2 takes our research to another level and enables us to assess the potential for rearing lobsters in sea-based containers in an innovative, sustainable form, where they feed off natural organisms, become ecologically conditioned and better able to survive post-release. LG2 could provide a major step towards enabling commercially viable mariculture and identifying solutions to global issues such as food security and marine conservation,” adds Dr Daniels. “Shellfish farmers such as Gary Rawle of Westcountry Mussels of Fowey who have the vision to drive forward multi-species aquaculture are absolutely critical to the development of our understanding and we are proud that our collaboration has been recognised by the 2018 Scottish Marine Aquaculture Awards.

Nominations in the scheme’s 11 categories will be judged by the 2018 Scottish Marine Aquaculture Awards panel, which has been chosen for its breadth of knowledge about the aquaculture industry and to provide insight from industrial and academic perspectives.

There is also an opportunity for industry professionals and members of the public to vote in the Aquaculture UK People’s Choice award, which will reward the most inspiring and innovative of all the nominees. Votes can be cast between now and 8pm on Tuesday 22 May 2018 via www.aquacultureawards.com/vote/

The winners of the 2018 Scottish Marine Aquaculture Awards will be announced at an Awards Ceremony and Dinner in Aviemore on Wednesday 23 May 2018.

Photo credit Johnny Fenn ‘Dr Carly Daniels, Jake Scolding and Gary Rawle monitoring juvenile lobsters in sea-based container systems in St Austell Bay as part of the National Lobster Hatchery’s innovative LG2 project’.