Through its close work with the North East fishing industry, Sofia became aware of the proposed Whitby Lobster Hatchery and Marine Research Centre and its ambition to create a unique local facility to highlight the importance of marine ecology and conservation and to contribute to ensuring a sustainable local fishing industry.
A 2020 survey showed 90% of respondents to be hugely supportive of the plans to turn the disused section of Whitby’s Fish Market and Pier Road into a venue that could play a vital role in lobster and fisheries research, conservation of the marine environment, educating the next generation and supporting the local fishing sector.
The Sofia project team recognises the potential of the initiative and is particularly supportive of its objectives under the three areas of conservation, education and research. To help progress the establishment of the hatchery and centre, Sofia has donated £5000 for the organisation to use on one of its numerous ongoing initiatives.
The registered charity aims to protect Whitby’s fishing heritage by conserving the local lobster populations, with plans to release 100,000 juvenile lobsters into the sea. It will provide a public educational and interactive centre to showcase the work of the hatchery and marine species native to the UK, and its state-of-the-art hatchery system will also be an institute of research, partnering with local universities and offering internships.
Project Manager Joe Redfern said about the funds from Sofia: "Thanks very much from everyone involved with our project. It means so much to us to have your support and your donation will be put to good use straight away."
More information about the Whitby Lobster Hatchery and Marine Conservation Centre can be found on the website including how to get involved and support the project.
Top photo credit: Polly A. Baldwin