A NEW scheme to boost the third largest lobster market in the UK and guarantee it for the future is being launched in Whitby.

Organisers behind the ambitious plan which would also create a new visitor attraction in the town are calling on people to get behind them with money and support to ensure the fishing industry does not repeat the struggles of the past.

The group have formed the Whitby Lobster Hatchery, the aim is to transform a rundown historic part of the port to build a centre which will release up to 100,000 juvenile lobsters.

Locals Terry Pearson and Joe Redfern are behind the scheme which they hope will boost the port, conserve the marine environment and protect local jobs.

Terry holds the lease on the disused section of Whitby’s historic fish market and came up with the idea to regenerate the old building and protect Whitby’s lobster fishing fleet for generations to come.

Terry says the plan is to regenerate the now unused fish auction shed opposite The Quayside on Pier Road. He added: "We want to offer something back to Whitby’s fishing fleet, local economy, and visitors.

"The core of the project is focused on conservation. Conservation of the lobster populations and therefore protection of Whitby’s fishing livelihoods. Whitby is the third largest lobster market in the UK.

"By opening a lobster hatchery, we are aiming to release 100,000 juvenile lobster to the ocean. Rearing the microscopic larvae in a hatchery dramatically increases survival rate and boosts populations. In turn, lobster populations are protected for future generations and the fishing industry benefits from an increased catch day by day.

"Alongside the valuable conservation work we are aiming to provide an interactive, educational, and inspiring Marine Discovery Centre. Whitby’s newest attraction will display the amazing work of the lobster hatchery, giving visitors a chance to learn about the life of lobsters while also interacting with local native marine animals.

"Finally, we aim to work with national and international research institutes to provide world class research on this valuable species. Inviting students, interns, and school groups into our hatchery to provide opportunities for young people. Creating jobs for local people and building a sustainable local economy in Whitby."

They say the aim is to stop a repeat of the problems of the fishing industry in the 1980's when the white fish industry collapsed through overfishing and mismanagement.

Considerable investment was then made by fishermen in lucrative crab and lobster potting boats which has in turn put pressure on lobster stocks and the group is keen that history does not repeat itself so is determined to ensure the stocks are there for the future.

A scheme has been drawn up which the organisers believe protects the long standing fishing heritage of the town but they say they need help and support from people and businesses to keep the momentum going.

They've launched a crowdfunding appeal to help them get the scheme to the next level. www.crowdfunder.co.uk/whitby-lobster-hatchery