Cornwall

Brewery beer chillers save 'boiling' lobster

Marine biologist Chloe Kingston with St Austell Brewery's Andrew Ferguson with Gary the lobster
Image caption Marine biologist Chloe Kingston said the Cornish lobster was obviously suffering as the aquarium tank temperature rose

Beer coolers from a Cornish brewery have helped save a "boiling" hot lobster and a "roasted" red gurnard.

Falmouth Aquarium's marine biologist Chloe Kingston said they were "in real danger" as the tank water temperatures climbed on Friday.

St Austell Brewery responded to the aquarium's call for help by fitting beer chillers to the affected tanks.

"The water temperature started falling and they perked up almost immediately," Ms Kingston said.

The lobster and gurnard are two local species housed in the aquarium's Cornish tanks which are fitted with commercial aquarium chillers.

The marine biologist said although the highest sea temperature recorded locally was 16C (61F), ideally the temperature of the water in the Cornish tanks should be 12C (54F).

'Too expensive'

"The tank chillers just weren't coping with this really hot weather and the temperature crept up to 19C (66C).

"Gary the lobster was really suffering and the poor gurnard was looking really sorry for itself lying on its side and hardly moving - it was really quite frightening."

Ms Kingston said as a small charity, the aquarium could not afford to buy new aquarium chillers which cost about £500 each, which is why she put out an "SOS" to the brewery.

"I'd seen it done once many years ago when there was a hot spell, so when the brewery offered to donate the beer chillers I was so, so pleased," she said.

Andrew Ferguson, St Austell's technical services manager, said it is the second time the brewery had stepped in to save a lobster.

"We used draft beer chillers at the lobster hatchery in Padstow about 10 years ago, so I was confident it would work," he said.

"It's been one of our busiest days for chillers breaking down, so it was a bit of a scramble getting the aquarium sorted, but I'm glad we were able to help."

Ms Kingston said as soon as the chiller was fitted to the lobster's tank, it immediately swam over and positioned itself under the outflow pipe.

"On a more serious note, for me this has highlighted the concern at rising sea temperatures because I've seen first hand how even a small rise of 3C can have such a significant effect.

"As a charity concerned about conservation, I think this is a good way to get that message across."

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