THE NORTHUMBERLAND SEAFOOD CENTRE
The Northumberland Seafood Centre is part of Amble Harbour Village and aims to create a distinctive local seafood offer and tourism experience in Amble.
The idea behind Northumberland Seafood is to source directly from local fishermen, taking the strain off overfished stocks and introducing customers to new types of delicious seafood. As well as offering customers a range of seafood they are familiar with, we want to introduce them to species of fish they don’t know much about and are unsure how to prepare. Species such as gurnard, pollock, sand dab, squid, witch, red fish, whiting, ling, monkfish, red mullet and a variety of flatfish which are plentiful off the Northumberland coast and at low to medium conservation risk. By building a base of seafood savvy customers Northumberland Seafood will be helping the local inshore fishing fleet remain sustainable whilst enabling customers to get their hands on a plentiful supply of fresh, seasonal and tasty locally caught seafood.
New for 2017 is the Northumberland Seafood Hatchery, the latest edition to the Harbour Village complex. A female lobster can carry 20,000 eggs under their body for over 9 months and after all that effort only one egg will survive to adulthood. We think she needs a little help! We take local berried hens (the lobsters’ eggs look like berries and the female lobsters are known as berried hens) and capture the eggs as she releases them. The really dangerous time for young lobsters in the sea is the first few weeks after hatching when they become a tasty treat for anything swimming past. We keep them protected in our tanks and in the weeks they are with us the lobster larvae moult several times and start to look like mini lobsters. At this stage they are safe to return to the sea where they can burrow into the seabed to hide from things that might eat them.
The hatchery is not just a visitor attraction, but also an important project to help ensure future stocks of shellfish for the local fishing industry. Initially we will be helping lobsters, but we will be looking to work with crabs and langoustine in the future.
We have set up the hatchery to be as interactive, informative, and engaging as possible for all ages. Visitors can observe the whole process from the eggs hatching to the young lobsters being ready for release.
We have specially shaped tanks with a water flow to help keep our babies apart (otherwise they eat each other). Kids (and brave adults) can get a hands on experience with our touch tank where our hatchery guides can introduce you to some local creatures – we only keep these for a few weeks at a time before they are returned to the sea, so you never know what you might find!