Lobster hatchery would be a burden on local taxpayers

RE THE comments from the South Bay Traders spokesman John Senior regarding the proposed lobster hatchery.

John may enjoy what he describes as “the best free show in town”, but if he thinks that a lobster hatchery will be a free show then he is misguided.

There are two UK hatcheries, one in the Orkneys, and the national lobster hatchery at Padstow.

The Orkney hatchery, despite a levy upon the shellfish industry, is unprofitable and relies upon subsidies from local government.

The Padstow hatchery, which I have visited, is not free, and I found it to be far from the visitor perception of a “Sea Life Centre” experience. Indeed, had I not been offered the opportunity to sit and watch 30 minutes of video footage of (ironically) York-shire shell-fishermen at work, I would have been outside again in 10 minutes.

The Padstow hatchery relies upon income from visitors who pay to view the hatchery and buy souvenirs from its shop. The goods for sale are very much the average items that are on sale at any similar seaside resort.

The Padstow hatchery has also proved to be unprofitable, and has had to be subsidised by the local council.

Yet this appears to be the model that the Scarborough hatchery is based upon, and which will also be dependent upon a shop selling items similar to those already on sale at any of the fancy goods shops of the South Bay traders, or the council’s own tourist information office, just 100 yards away from the proposed site on the West Pier.

The facts are:

1. There is no demand or market for juvenile lobsters.

2. None of the local shell fishermen I have spoken to support the need for a lobster hatchery.

3. In all probability a Scarborough hatchery will end up being a burden upon the local council taxpayer, as is the case with the Padstow hatchery upon which it is modelled.

This begs the question, who actually wants the proposed hatchery?

Allan Roberts

Highdale Road