The National Lobster Hatchery, Padstow
Growing up in coastal North Cornwall, I have been interested in the ecology and conservation of marine ecosystems, and the impacts upon them of anthropogenic pressures, for as long as I can remember. Upon graduating from the University of Plymouth in Marine Biology and Oceanography, I took up a research position at the National Lobster Hatchery in Padstow where I investigated current release methods used in lobster stock enhancement. Finding these somewhat limited in their scope for both benthic delivery of juvenile lobsters and the utilization of the expertise of inshore potting fishermen, I created a new method of reliable timed-release. After this, I spent 3 years as a Hatchery Technician in Padstow, building and maintaining the organization’s life support systems, sourcing wild broodstock and rearing and releasing juveniles back into the fishery. My life outside of work interests mostly revolve around playing cricket and the guitar (both with a great deal more enthusiasm than success), bodyboarding and diving, and travelling to exciting places with my long-suffering girlfriend.
Broad research specialisms:
I am greatly interested in sustainable fisheries and the role that stock enhancement can play in increasing the sustainability of exploited populations. Rear-and-release projects potentially offer more sustainable solutions than full aquaculture where fishing methods involve minimal by-catch and habitat disturbance, though the morphology of Hatchery-reared juveniles often precludes the development of robust monitoring systems able to assess wild recruitment. I am interested in the advancement of methods, like genetic or physical markers, that could be used to identify Hatchery-reared individuals in the wild, particularly among crustacean species which undergo regular shell moults, and those which can help monitor post-release survival, fitness and behaviour. Other ecological factors affecting the population dynamics, like physiology, fecundity, dispersal and competition are also of interest.
BSc Marine Biology and Oceanography
Project Title: Understanding Sustainability in the Cornish Lobster Fishery
Supervisors: Dr Dave Hodgson
Funding Body: E.S.F.
The creation of a population model for the European lobster (Homarus gammarus) in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, allowing predictive assessment of the effects to stock size and sustainable yields of stock enhancement, wild recruitment variations, and changes to fishing efforts, areas and legislation.
Involving fishermen in improving lobster stocks: published by DEFRA in the Marine Fisheries Yearbook, 2007/2008, p31-32.
CD Ellis et al, 2008. ‘Developing stakeholder participation in lobster stock enhancement projects.’ Published online by DEFRA at archive.defra.gov.uk/environment/marine/documents/science/stakehold-part-lobster.pdf
CD Ellis et al, 2008. ‘Improving larval survival at the National Lobster Hatchery through live-feed disinfection. ‘Drum & Croaker, Vol. 39, p. 55-58.