A massive thanks to Nathan who has completed a 3 month internship with us at the hatchery. His hard work and committment has been vital to helping us release 1000s of juveniles lobster in our first season!
Where are you from?
Essex originally, now studying a PhD in York.
What is your background or interest in the project?
(area of study, work, hobbies etc.)
I’m doing a PhD at the University of York and as part of my course I had the opportunity to do a three month internship. My PhD project involves working with bacteria in a lab so I thought this would be a good opportunity to try something totally different.
Why did you want to undertake internship with the Whitby Lobster Hatchery project?
I’ve always been interested in working with animals but have found getting experience in this kind of thing to be extremely difficult (probably because lots of people love animals)! I’ve always been particularly interested in creatures that have the potential to produce lots of offspring, because human interventions could (theoretically) be used to substantially improve outcomes. The lobster hatchery project is really a perfect example of this: lobsters typically produce thousands of larvae but in the wild only a tiny proportion would be expected to reach adulthood. At the hatchery we look after the young during the early larval stages (while they are at their most vulnerable) and release the resulting juveniles back into the sea with the aim of boosting overall survival rates.
Nathan conducting some research on eDNA
What benefits do you think you have BROUGHT to the project?
It’s probably not the most glamorous thing to have brought to the project but I've always been good at cleaning. In the hatchery environment keeping everything clean is actually really important for the health and wellbeing of our lobsters, so it’s been nice to be able to put this to some use.
Nathan doing a thorough job at cleaning
What benefits do you think you have GAINED from the project?
Aside from it just being a really enjoyable experience, I’ve definitely gained some useful skills. Before starting here I might have been the last person you’d ask if something needed fixing, but since part of the job is maintaining the hatchery equipment I’ve gained a lot of experience with repairing things that are broken. I think I have also gained confidence in trying something new: looking after a hatchery is a long way from the kind of job I have previously done but I took to it surprisingly quickly and I’ve not had any major hiccups (yet).
Nathan with is 'favourite' lobster Beryl
What impact do you think WLH can have?
The main goal of the hatchery is to restock lobsters to offset what is caught in the local area, and I think this kind of initiative is essential if the fishing industry is to work sustainably. If things keep moving in the direction that they are, WLH should progress to a point where this aim becomes a reality. I think the visitor centre attached to the hatchery which will be opening soon could also have a really useful impact by giving the public an opportunity to see how it all works.
Do you have a favourite or stand out moment for your time spent on the internship?
I got to go out on a boat and release my favourite lobster (which I named Beryl). Despite feeling pretty seasick it was great fun - definitely something I would never have otherwise had the opportunity to do.
The best photo we have of Nathan releasing Beryl
How can the internship be improved?
It’s difficult for me to say because my experience has been so positive. A better setup for making cups of tea might be nice!
Any other comments?
In all it has been a fantastic opportunity for me. If you are reading this and thinking looking after lobsters might be for you, I’d definitely recommend getting in touch with WLH.
There's always lots to get done at the hatchery.
A HUGE thanks to Nathan for his contribution to our first year of releasing juvenile lobsters. Nathan has been a brilliant person to have at the hatchery and helped us release 1000s of juveniles this season. We will be sad to see him go!
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