Padstow’s pioneering National Lobster Hatchery scoops national aquaculture award

The National Lobster Hatchery (NLH) has been crowned the winner of the Stewardship & Sustainability Award at the inaugural 2018 Scottish Marine Aquaculture Awards.

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

The Stewardship & Sustainability Award (sponsored by BioMar) recognised an initiative that had contributed significantly to the sustainability of an organisation, and considered predator management and wild stock interactions; collaborative resource management with other marine businesses and engagement with local stakeholders. The NLH was singled out as the recipient of this honour for its pioneering Lobster Grower 2 (LG2) project.

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.

In addition to winning the Stewardship & Sustainability Award, the charity’s LG2 Project was also shortlisted in the Innovation category and its Principal Investigator and Research & Development Manager, Dr Carly Daniels was nominated for Shellfish Farm Manager of the Year.

The NLH encourages scientists and fishermen to work collaboratively to support the sustainability of Cornish lobster stocks and we are absolutely delighted to have received this prestigious award for our work,” commented Dr Carly Daniels. “LG2 takes our research to another level by enabling 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. 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 were judged by the 2018 Scottish Marine Aquaculture Awards panel, which was chosen for its breadth of knowledge about the aquaculture industry and to provide insight from industrial and academic perspectives.

The winners were announced during the Aquaculture UK exhibition at an Awards Ceremony and Dinner in Aviemore on Wednesday 23 May 2018.

Photo Paddy Campbell, Managing Director of BioMar presents awards to Dr Carly Daniels, Research & Development Manager of the National Lobster Hatchery