Based at the University of Exeter’s Truro campus in Cornwall, the European Centre for Environment and Human Health conducts world-class research into the complex connections between the environment and health.

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Working with Cornish businesses - the National Lobster Hatchery

Improving lobster survival rates

In this collaborative research project, the National Lobster Hatchery has partnered with the Centre to develop a series of experiments that will help to improve the survival rates of lobster hatchlings, and boost their populations in Cornish waters.

The National Lobster Hatchery is a pioneering marine conservation, research and education charity, whose work is aiming to support Cornwall’s vulnerable lobster stocks and conserve the region’s coastal biodiversity.

Working with one of the Centre’s Environmental Chemists, Dr. Clare Redshaw, the Hatchery have used the In Residence scheme to develop a bioassay which will deepen the team’s understanding of how and why lobster larvae survival rates differ.

We are generally viewed as a visitor attraction that releases baby lobsters into the sea, but we are much more than that and science is very important to us.  We have quite a substantial research programme overseen by a scientific committee that decides our priorities for research.  We have been working with University of Exeter academics for nearly a decade to ensure science underpins our approach.

We’re a small organisation with big ideas. Working with the ESI team is helping the National Lobster Hatchery achieve an international reputation.

Dom Boothroyd, General Manager of the National Lobster Hatchery

The bioassay will allow the Hatchery to test a range of conditions that work towards providing the optimum environment for hatchling survival.

The team’s initial In Residence application allowed various experiments to be designed, Hatchery staff to be trained in their implementation, and generated preliminary data. Importantly, it has also created a good working relationship between the two organisations which is already leading to further collaborative initiatives, including a continuation of the existing research.

By bolstering lobster populations the Centre’s work with the National Lobster Hatchery is helping to safeguard Cornwall’s fishing and seafood industry. It is leading to the development of new intellectual capital in Cornwall, and assisting the Hatchery as it becomes a major contributor to the aquaculture industry.

Read more about this project and other collaborations in our ECEHH pages