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Bridlington hatchery plan to boost lobster stocks

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Media captionLobster hatchery to boost catch

Fishermen in East Yorkshire are applying to build the east coast's first lobster breeding centre to boost their stocks.

The lobster fishing industry is worth more than £5m a year to the local economy and employs about 400 people.

A group of fishermen are hoping to win European funding to develop a hatchery at Bridlington harbour within a year.

A spokesman said the plan would prevent a decline in lobster stocks and help secure the industry's future.

'Lot of effort'

Mike Cohen, from the Holderness Fishing Industry Group, said: "The aim is to introduce more juvenile lobsters into the sea to boost stocks to protect them against any unforeseen situations, maybe disease or loss of habitat.

"We are losing habitat because of industrial development at sea, gas and oil, particularly wind farms.

"We are going to lose habitat because of those and that's going to affect lobster populations."

The group is hoping the Bridlington hatchery will emulate the success of a similar scheme in Orkney, which releases more than 60,000 juvenile lobsters into the wild annually.

Yorkshireman Dennis Gowland, who runs the Orkney Lobster Hatchery, is helping the Bridlington group with its plans.

A planning application and a bid for funding to the European Union Fisheries Fund are being prepared.

Mr Cohen said: "We are putting a lot of effort into running this hatchery scientifically. We are doing a lot of research on how to make the hatchery work well, how to encourage hatchlings, to find the best habitat for them to be introduced into so we have the absolute maximum chance of success."

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