The National Lobster Hatchery

The National Lobster Hatchery

South Quay, Padstow, PL28 8BL
Tel: (01841) 533877


"Visit the hatchery and see for yourself how science is helping to conserve the fishing tradition in Cornwall and beyond."

Padstow is a typical Cornish fishing port, famous for its seafood connection, beaches and hospitality. Finding the hatchery is easy. We are on the quayside next to Padstow's main car and coach park. The hatchery was opened in August 2000 and is situated on the South Quay.

We aim to make a visit to the lobster hatchery rewarding for everyone. The main attraction has to be seeing the young lobsters growing up ready to be released, but we also have our resident giant lobster, 'Dai the Claw' and Edible and Spider Crabs. We display a wealth of information about lobsters and marine conservation as well as activities for all ages. Our staff are always on hand to answer your questions and make sure you get the most from your visit.

We also have a gift shop area with sea-life related goods and a range of books about marine life and Cornwall. Our site has level access and is wheelchair friendly. There are WC facilities which are also suitable for the disabled. For disabled visitors who have arranged to visit the education or conference room, there is a stair-lift, hearing loop and a colour scheme that will assist the visually impaired.


The process usually starts with a phone call from a fisherman to let us know they have landed a female with eggs. If we have room for the mother to be, we will arrange for her arrival and prepare a tank.

The female lobster will be kept until the eggs hatch, this usually happens at night. The baby lobsters (known as larvae) swim off from their mother and are collected by hatchery staff the next morning. The larvae (which look different from their parents) are then transferred to special rearing tanks where they are fed on plankton. As they grow, they have to shed their shells (known as moulting) after around two weeks they reach their third moult, now they start to look like their parents, and the technicians in the lab need to separate them into individual rearing compartments as they become very aggressive and would fight and kill each other if they could.

During the rearing process the water must be kept perfectly clean if the lobsters are to thrive, our technicians make sure that the water is well filtered and carry out daily tests of the water quality in our lab.

In the wild, hardly any of the lobsters would survive the first two weeks, much less than one percent. In a lobster hatchery like ours, over 40% of the young can be expected to survive.

After around three months, the lobsters are tough enough to look after themselves. They are then taken by boat to sites around the coast where they have the best chance of survival and released back into the wild by scuba divers.


On south quay adjacent to the car park.

Opening Times

All Year
Every Day
10.00am - 5.00pm

Admission Charged

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