Fisherman's fears over 'worrying reduction' in lobster off Cornish coast

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A Cornish fisherman says he is noticing a "worrying reduction" in the number of lobsters he is catching and fears overfishing may be playing a part.

Jason Nicholas has a deep respect for the sea. Catching lobsters is his livelihood, but during the past few years he says he has noticed a worrying trend.

"We're definitely seeing a decrease in our stock levels of what we're catching. There are lots and lots of lobster pots on the ground now," he said.

"We're probably having to do 25% more pots a day now to achieve the same levels we were a few years ago."

It is estimated one in three fish species are now overfished. Conservationists say overfishing is the most serious threat to the ocean as it can destroy the sea's delicate ecosystem.

Matt Slater from the Cornwall Wildlife Trust said: "We all know that continuing to catch will eventually become catastrophic. We need to look after the sea, not because it provides us with food, but gives us 50% of the oxygen we breathe."

Conservationists estimate one in three fish species are now overfished. Credit: ITV West Country

In Padstow, conservationists have found a unique way of putting marine wildlife back into the sea.

They take trays containing baby lobsters which have hatched and hand-rear them for two months. Once they are strong enough, the baby lobsters are released back into the sea.

When the baby lobsters are strong enough, the conservationists release them back into the sea. Credit: ITV West Country

Chris Weston from The National Lobster Hatchery said: "Lobsters are an enigmatic species in the UK and they are popular food species as well. We should protect them for the livelihoods of fishermen and for the eco system.

"If anything, if that population is overfished substantially that takes a long time to recover. That's where you might see the real negative effects in the short and long term."