Orkney Shellfish Hatchery has released its first stock of land-raised European clawed lobster juveniles into the ocean.

The release, which saw 500 of the hatchery’s advanced lobster juveniles deployed directly onto the seabed at Orkney’s Churchill Barriers, was supported by local diving school Kraken Diving, whose expert divers executed the deployment on behalf of the hatchery.

The lobsters had been successfully raised on land at the hatchery from egg through to stage six and beyond using the proprietary Aquahive system from Ocean On Land Technology and, upon release, measured up to 45mm in size (from claw tip to end of tail).

Juvenile lobsters of this size are considered more robust than in earlier stages, giving them the best chance of survival in the wild.

Dr Nik Sachlikidis, managing director at Orkney Shellfish Hatchery, said: “We are excited about the first release of our European clawed lobster juveniles, and are extremely proud of the progress that both Callum, our lead lobster hatchery technician, and the hatchery team have made.

“We are pleased to play our part in maintaining and replenishing native lobster stocks in the local waters, and this release is a clear demonstration of how we aim to support the valuable local fishery.

“I’d also like to extend a huge thanks to the Kraken Diving, Orkney team, who we look forward to working with again on upcoming, larger lobster releases.”

The announcement comes after the hatchery shared news of its first successful release of native flat oyster spat last month, demonstrating another way in which it is working to care for the local marine environment, as well as supporting the wider agenda focused on aiding the restoration of Europe’s plummeting shellfish stocks.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here

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