Harwich Haven Authority and partners support first lobster hatchery on the Essex coastline

22 June 2022

Harwich Haven Authority, and a joint venture between dredging contractors Boskalis Westminster and Van Oord, is delighted to announce that it is supporting a local lobster hatchery, which aims to  improve the sustainability of the lobster population on the North-East Essex Coast, England.

The project is being led by the newly created Community Interest Company, Thames Estuary Lobster Hatchery. The hatchery, the first of its kind on the North-East Essex/Thames coast, is based in Brightlingsea, Essex.

“As a local fisherman I’m committed to ensuring that our industry is sustainable,” says Gary Humm, owner of the Thames Estuary Lobster Hatchery.”

“I have been working closely with the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) who  closely monitor the local lobster population. While lobsters, and crabs, are not at immediate risk of decline, it’s important that we introduce management measures to ensure their continued sustainability.  The Lobster Hatchery will hopefully support the longer-term management of the lobster population.

“I’m very grateful to Harwich Haven Authority, Boskalis Westminster and Van Oord for their help with the creation of the Hatchery.  I’m also lucky to have a great family and a local community that are 100% behind me. Over the past few months, we’ve been busy installing specialist equipment and preparing for the release of our first batch of lobster hatchlings, which we hope will go into the waters of the Haven in early June.

“In addition to harvesting eggs from locally caught Berried Hens (egg carrying lobsters) and maturing them through to hatchlings ready for release, we have also developed an educational programme to raise awareness about lobsters, native fish, biodiversity and wider marine conservation concerns.

“We’ve built a great classroom space at the Hatchery and we can’t wait to welcome visitors along to see the life cycle of a lobster up close – from a tiny egg to a hatchling. My big hope is that children will learn more about the wider marine environment and why it’s so important to protect it.”

Leading dredging specialists Boskalis Westminster and Van Oord have been awarded a joint contract by Harwich Haven Authority to carry out works on its £120 million harbour improvement project to deepen the Haven approach channel and the inner harbour. This nationally significant project is set to futureproof the Haven ports capacity to handle the largest container vessels in operation.

All parties are very focused on supporting sustainable projects that have beneficial outcomes for people living in and around the Haven. Working closely with the local Harwich Fisherman’s Association it was recognised that supporting biodiversity, sustainability and the management of the lobster population in the Haven would be an excellent project to support.

Trevor Armstrong, secretary, Harwich Fisherman’s Association commented: “We are delighted that Harwich Haven Authority and their contractors Boskalis Westminster and Van Oord are supporting the Thames Estuary Lobster Hatchery. Any initiative that supports the long-term sustainability of the lobster population is very much welcomed by our members.”

Neil Glendinning, CEO, Harwich Haven Authority added: “Our role as a trust port is to Protect, Conserve and Improve the Haven for the benefit of all stakeholders. Importantly, we are also committed to ensuring that future generations can also enjoy and benefit from it too.

“I’m delighted that we, and our partners Boskalis Westminster and Van Oord, have been able to support this initiative to increase lobster stocks and improve biodiversity in the Haven waters. I can think of no better legacy to our major capital harbour improvement project than ensuring the sustainability of the lobster population in our waters.

“It’s a long-term investment for us because it will be at least five years before the young lobster hatchlings mature to adulthood. We will continue to work closely with Gary and his team at the Hatchery and monitor progress through our own research programme.”


For further information contact: Fiona Brunning, Corporate Affairs Manager, Harwich Haven Authority. Tel: 01255 252310 or 07425632090 – [email protected]

Photo credit: Gary Humm, owner, Thames Estuary Lobster Hatchery

About Harwich Haven Authority
Harwich Haven Authority is one of the UK’s largest trust ports with a jurisdiction that covers approx. 150 square miles. It is a not-for-profit organisation, which run a 24/7, 365 day operation, providing pilotage to visiting vessels, vessel traffic services and is responsible for the maintenance of the Haven’s navigation channel.

About Van Oord
Van Oord is a Dutch family-owned company with more than 150 years of experience as an international marine contractor. The focus is on dredging and marine construction, offshore wind, offshore infrastructure and infrastructure in the Netherlands. Its head office is in Rotterdam. Van Oord employs 4,400 staff, who work on over 180 projects in nearly 40 countries. The fleet consists of about 70 vessels and a large amount of special-purpose and auxiliary equipment. Marine ingenuity is characteristic of Van Oord. By using innovative, smart and sustainable solutions, it wishes to contribute to a better world for future generations.

About Boskalis Westminster
Founded in 1933, Boskalis Westminster is one of the most experienced dredging and marine contracting companies in the UK. Along with our group subsidiaries, we have the capability to undertake any type of dredging and marine construction work including coastal and seabed protection, immersed tube tunnel construction, offshore services, rock and breakwater construction, environmental projects, marine drilling and blasting, port and waterway engineering, marine pipeline installation and salvage projects. Boskalis Westminster is a subsidiary of Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V., a leading global services provider operating in the dredging, maritime infrastructure and maritime services sectors that provides creative and innovative all-round solutions to infrastructural challenges in the maritime, coastal and delta regions of the world.