World Lobster Experts gather in Cornwall

The University of Exeter Cornwall Campus has played host to a number of the worlds lobster experts at a recent marine crustacean knowledge exchange and networking event.

The event, which formed part of the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) Legacy Programme was organised with the National Lobster Hatchery, in Padstow, and consisted of a day of seminars looking at stock enhancement in the UK. 

Dominic Boothroyd, General Manager at the National Lobster Hatchery, explained: “As global demand for fisheries products grow, it is becoming increasingly desirable to have a more complete academic understanding of how we can enhance and re-stock populations of high value species. Understanding impact is an essential element of any stocking program and helps to inform protocol development as well as monitoring overall effectiveness. ”

The event, which was attended by delegates from all over the UK, welcomed speakers from Norway, Canada, Ireland, the University and the Lobster Hatchery. It provided CUC partners and invited guests with an overview of previous assessment technologies and the potential for using new genetic tools.

Dominic added: “This event has enabled world experts to get together, share expertise and experience as well as form collaborations and partnerships. One of the focuses was about how we might model the lobster population and therefore understand better how to utilise stocks in a more sustainable manner. Today has helped us to establish where the knowledge gaps are and to formulate a strategic approach to filling these gaps. This will inform the direction of the charity’s research in years to come, be of huge benefit to the fishing industry and might eventually influence the way stocks are managed elsewhere.”

Dr Dave Hodgson, Associate Professor of Ecology at the University of Exeter, said: “Events like this help to consolidate the University’s role as a provider of research expertise to Cornwall’s environmental sector. The lobster is an iconic species in Cornwall’s marine environment and it is in everyone’s interest to understand its ecology and exploit its populations sustainably.

This event brought together researchers, conservation biologists and fishermen to great effect. We identified knowledge gaps, discussed modern approaches to filling those gaps and resolved to work together in developing the monitoring and modelling tools required to create a very modern and sustainable fishery in Cornish waters.”

Legacy is part of the CUC Research Programme, which is funded by the European Social Fund, and aspires to share best practice within the CUC partnership and build a lasting legacy for Cornwall by delivering workshops and seminars aimed at developing research skills and expertise in the county.

If you are interested in reading more about the conference or research undertaken at the National Lobster Hatchery follow this link

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