Maryport is one of only two places in England where you can see the breeding stages of a remarkable creature. 

The town's aquarium is raising lobsters to replenish the fisheries off the coast of Cumbria. 

When they're big enough, the baby lobsters are released from a boat into the wild using weighted containers that sink slowly to the sea bed. 

The lids of the containers are made from paper so the baby lobsters can chew their way through it to freedom. 

Mark Vollers, the owner of Lake District Coast Aquarium, said: "There is clearly a strong connection to the mother in the breeding cycle in that if the eggs are taken from her they don't survive or hatch successfully.

"She has to release them when she senses the time is right. 

"That usually means at night, at a time of year when there's plenty of food and also in bursts to increase their chance of survival." 

Of all the eggs that hatch out, only five per cent of the lobsters survive into maturity at five years old. 

Mr Vollers added: "If they all hatched and survived the whole sea would just be full of lobsters. 

"They've developed a certain perfection in the 140 million years they've been around. 

"They can shed and regrow limbs if they're trapped or sense they are in peril. 

"And they're well armed with two large claws. One claw is a crushing claw the other is serrated for cutting. They tend to eat carrion or live food that is weak or can't get away. 

"They're tough propositions for predators. They're so well protected but like medieval knights being lowered onto their horses, so the bigger and stronger they grow, the more unwieldy they become. 

"Their one weakness is the can't grow their shell. They have to shed it in order to grow themselves. and once it's shed they're left without protection until their skin hardens again into a new shell, leaving them vulnerable to attack by fish with teeth or from other lobsters. 

"After shedding they consume their own shells for the calcium and minerals to speed up the reinforcing of their own skin. 

"Often, in shops or restaurants, people choose the cleanest, nicest looking lobster. 

"It's not a good idea, though, as they may have recently moulted.

The meat will be rubbery, and in the claws will be quite disappointing. They have no muscle at that point. Just a rubbery lump. 

"Better to choose one with a few barnacles. One that looks like it's been about a bit." 

Although lobsters can live to a ripe old age, 50 is not unusual, the bigger they get the harder it is for them to find a safe home so moulting becomes much more of a problem.

They become too big for their sheltering places leaving them even more vulnerable when they've shed their shell. 

"They're less vigorous too. There is an optimum size for a lobster. 

"The older bigger lobsters are too large to fit into lobster pots and so just tend to turn up when caught by trawlers of divers." 

Meanwhile Mr Vollers and his team are waiting for a suitable time and the right conditions to release the lobsters waiting for their freedom at Sea Lab.