Congratulations on adopting your very own lobster! Or if you haven’t adopted a lobster yet, click on our blinking lobster on the right to go directly to the Adopt a Lobster page.

Depending on what time of year you have adopted your lobster, it will fall somewhere on this scale below, of his or her life cycle.

Adoption Month

November – March


Which stage your Lobster is currently in

Your lobster started life as an egg attached to the underside of one of our hen (female) lobsters in our maternity ward. Hen lobsters carry their eggs for about 9 months so if you have adopted a lobster out of season you may have a long wait until your lobster hatches into the big wide world. The mother lobster will constantly fan water over the eggs to maintain the oxygen supply and water quality so Lobster Junior will be very happy tucked amongst his or her 3,000-40,000 brothers and sisters on the underside of mum! The lobster hatching season starts in the Spring and will stop in about October.

April – October
[three_fourth_last] Once Lobster Junior hatches (nearly always at night) it will be collected by our hatchery staff in the morning and put into our larval cones where it will swirl around like it would in the wild on the surface of the sea. Your lobster doesn’t look much like a lobster at this stage. After 3 days of eating, it will get so big that it will burst out of its shell (its exoskeleton); this is called moulting. We call this a Stage 2 Lobster. As it grows it will moult several times. In only 3 weeks it will become a Stage 5 Lobster and will look like a perfect miniature lobster with claws. At this stage they become truly benthic. This means living in close relationship with the substrate bottom, so instead of floating around in the plankton it would swim to the seabed and burrow into the sand or gravel where it would stay for 2 years. Your lobster will continue to grow in the hatchery now until we release it back into the wild. The bigger it gets; the better chance it has of survival in the wild.
[three_fourth_last] Once Lobster Junior has been released, the information will be published on our website with details of when and where. This might be a release at low tide by hatchery staff, delivered by hand to the seabed by Divers, or lowered to the bottom by local Fishermen. We hope all of our baby lobsters lead a happy and fulfilling life and perhaps add to the lobster population themselves when they reach maturity. Thank you for your support!


Our hatchery reared lobsters are released at around 3 months old and released around the coast of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

We nurture them through their most vulnerable stage in their life cycle (when they are part of the plankton) where there are a lot of predators. When we release them, they are still only 1cm in length but they stand a very high chance of survival because they become demersal at this stage in their life cycle. This means living on or near the bottom of the sea. There are very few sightings of juvenile lobsters in the wild and researchers believe they spend their first two years of life buried in the gravel. Research undertaken in Norway showed survival rates for hatchery reared juvenile lobsters were 30-80%.

We use several methods to release them;

    1. Shore release, we take them down at low tide and release them onto suitable substrate.
    2. Dive clubs release on our behalf and personally deliver them to the sea bed.
    3. Fishermen release, whereby, trays of juvenile lobsters are put into the lobster pots/creels and lowered to the seabed. They benefit from the protection of the pot whilst they crawl out of the trays and into the gravel below.
    4. Tube release, again with the help from fishermen, we are able to deliver juvenile lobsters directly onto the seabed using a long pipe.

Film taken by Dave Perry


We have anything from 3,000 to 5,000 adoptions each year and your very kind donation goes directly towards raising and releasing our baby lobsters.  We’ve got a fabulous new ‘all singing and dancing’ Adopt a Lobster search tool and map for you to find out where and when your lobster was released.  Thank you to Matthew Augier, DPS Ltd for building and hosting this new website for free.  Just enter your details below to find your lobster.  Please note 2005 adoptions are not included

This database is updated quarterly, last updated July 2017

OTHER ADOPTIONS – we have released lobsters on behalf of our fabulous Sponsors

Alec Weir 80 lobsters – June 2008

2008 M&J Seafood 100 lobsters

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 South West Water 700 lobsters

2011 Shellfish Hatchery Systems Ltd 100 lobsters

2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 Harbour Holidays 500 lobsters

2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 Paddy’s Hooked on Fish 1600 lobsters

2015, 2016 Holiday Cottages 200 lobsters

2017 Stay in Cornwall 100 lobsters


The National Lobster Hatchery, South Quay, Padstow, PL28 8BL Tel: 01841 533877
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