BRIDLINGTON Harbour could become the home of the east coast’s first lobster breeding centre to boost stocks to help secure the industry’s future.
A planning application and bid for funding to the European Union Fisheries Fund is currently being prepared in the hope of creating a commercial lobster hatchery at the harbour within a year.
Mike Cohen, of the Holderness Fishing Industry Group said the aim of the hatchery would be to boost lobster numbers to protect them from unforeseen threats such as disease or loss of habitat.
The move comes at a time when the lobster fishing industry is estimated to be worth more than £5m a year to the local economy and employs around 400 people, with Bridlington having the ideal environmental conditions for lobsters to thrive.
Mr Cohen told the Free Press that one of the current major threats to lobster habitats was industrial development at sea, especially off shore wind farms.
“Lobster fishing is dependant on habitat, they aren’t running around the sea like cod, and we just happen to have the best location for them here in Bridlington,” Mr Cohen said.
“Lobsters are very vulnerable to habitat loss, so if something happens to damage the habitat it’s not like we can go and begin fishing somewhere else.”
“The biggest threat to habitat is wind farms.”
“If you are drilling holes for massive pylons it’s going to create an amount of environmental damage. You can’t build a power station and not expect it to damage the environment,” he added.
The group hope the hatchery, which will create two new jobs immediately, will emulate the success of a similar scheme in Orkney, which releases more than 60,000 juvenile lobsters into the wild every year.
“The main thing is supporting the saleability of the fishing industry which is of great economic importance to Bridlington. We are looking at not only supporting it but giving is a boost in this area,” he added.