Last updated on 13 December 2016

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Homarus americanus

SPECIES NAME(s)

American lobster

COMMON NAMES

Atlantic Lobster

 

This fishery was certified by the Marine Stewardship Council system in November 2014. Click here to link to the MSC fishery page and to learn more about the MSC fishery certification unit.


ANALYSIS

Strengths

Catch reporting is strictly enforced.Mandatory use of biodegradable escape panels reduces bycatch and “ghost fishing” impacts from lost traps. Non-target lobsters released at the surface (23% of total catch) show high survival. A cap on lobster fishing licenses has limited fleet growth since 1968. Stock appears to be in a very healthy condition.Managers have recently implemented reference points.

Weaknesses

No analytic modeling is conducted or used in management. A control plan is not in place when the stock is near it’s threshold reference point. Catch and landings are thought not to be accurate. No quotas are set to limit removals. Reference points are based on landings rather than an independent or effort adjusted abundance indices; catch may not reflect abundance. Bycatch and discards are not measured by at-sea observers. A research plan with goals is not available.

Options

Suggest a modeling approach be adopted; with reference points based on projection or biological factors other than landings.. Research is needed on catch, discards, bycatch, and mortality. Establish a set of control rules when the stock is near it’s threshold reference points. Consider advocating for quota based management.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 8

Managers Compliance:

≥ 6

Fishers Compliance:

≥ 6

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

8.4

Future Health:

≥ 8


RECOMMENDATIONS

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  • Monitor the progress in closing out conditions placed upon the MSC certification of the fishery and if agreed timelines are met. Offer assistance in closing conditions where possible.

FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

  • Bay of Fundy, Scotian Shelf and Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence lobster trap:

    MSC Certified

  • Prince Edward Island lobster trap:

    MSC Certified

Fisheries

Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

ASSESSMENT UNIT MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
Gulf of St. Lawrence South Canada LFA 23-26A,B Canada Traps

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 30 November 2014

Strengths

Catch reporting is strictly enforced.Mandatory use of biodegradable escape panels reduces bycatch and “ghost fishing” impacts from lost traps. Non-target lobsters released at the surface (23% of total catch) show high survival. A cap on lobster fishing licenses has limited fleet growth since 1968. Stock appears to be in a very healthy condition.Managers have recently implemented reference points.

Weaknesses

No analytic modeling is conducted or used in management. A control plan is not in place when the stock is near it’s threshold reference point. Catch and landings are thought not to be accurate. No quotas are set to limit removals. Reference points are based on landings rather than an independent or effort adjusted abundance indices; catch may not reflect abundance. Bycatch and discards are not measured by at-sea observers. A research plan with goals is not available.

Options

Suggest a modeling approach be adopted; with reference points based on projection or biological factors other than landings.. Research is needed on catch, discards, bycatch, and mortality. Establish a set of control rules when the stock is near it’s threshold reference points. Consider advocating for quota based management.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 1 November 2018

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Monitor the progress in closing out conditions placed upon the MSC certification of the fishery and if agreed timelines are met. Offer assistance in closing conditions where possible.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 28 November 2014

The assessment is based on indicators from a trawl survey in Lobster Fishing Areas (LFAs) 25 and 26A, SCUBA surveys in LFAs 23, 25 and 26A and data from the fishery: catch data, at-sea sampling, voluntary logbooks and biological sampling. Effort is not monitored in this fishery (DFO, 2013).

Uncertainty relates primarily to the use of landings as abundance proxies, without accounting for catchability and fishing efficiency. There are also delays in data compilation and possible non-accounted landings(DFO, 2013).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 28 November 2014

Scientific advice on these stocks is peer reviewed. Stock status reports are semi-regular, but they lack estimates of uncertainty for exploitation rates by area and some survey assumptions and data gaps have considered problematic. Further indicators are needed, including indicators of fishing effort to move to an analytical modeling approach (DFO, 2013).

Reference Points

Last updated on 28 Nov 2014

Managers have recently instituted abundance based biomass reference points which are tied to catch. The theory is that lower catch equals lower abundance given that the fishery is not quota controlled and that effort if assumed stable. However, effort is not tracked and an apprach based only of catch doesn’t account for changes in catchablity due to biological or market factors (DFO, 2013 and Criquet et al. 2014).

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 28 November 2014

The lobster stock in this area is considered to be in good shape with high biomass and good recruitment (DFO, 2013). Likewise exploitation is also thought to be lower as effort has been in decline due to management (DFO, 2013)

Trends

Last updated on 28 Nov 2014

Lobster fishing in the region has been conducted since the 1800s and catches generally oscillated around 10,000 tonnes annual catches. In the 1970s the fishery expanded and catches rapidly increased over 2.5 times to a record 22,100 tonnes in 1990. They have remained well above the historical median since then but have decreased, to 15,314 tonnes in 2005 (DFO, 2007). Recent reductions in effort (as measured by traps and licences, have had a positive effect on the productivity of the stock (DFO, 2013).

Overall recruitment has been increasing across the time series, while exploitation and effort have been in decline. Most indices of abundance including some catch per unit effort information (when available) indicates a continued healthy trend for this stock (DFO, 2013 and Criquet et al. 2014).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 28 November 2014

Managers do not set an overall quota and the fishery is regulated using trap limits, gear restrictions, and other measures to control exploitation. Managers have recently implemented biological reference points based on landings as a proxy for abundance. But there are no guides to how exploitation will be reduced when the stock approaches its threshold level (Criquet et al 2014). Managers mostly follow scientific advice when it is given, but such instances have been rare as only stock status is monitored and the fishery is not quota controlled. Recent reductions in effort (as measured by traps and licences, have had a positive effect on the productivity of the stock (DFO, 2013).

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 28 Nov 2014

The stock is not near its newly defined reference points and a rebuilding plan is not needed at this time (DFO, 2013 and Criquet et al, 2014).

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 28 November 2014

Compliance with catch regulations is considered reasonable in most areas, although there are reports of extensive poaching around Prince Edward island and a shortage of DFO enforcement staff. Logbooks are voluntary, and there is no VMS. However, catch reporting is strictly enforced, and the fishery is patrolled by sea and air. Prohibition of recreational lobstering is considered to help reduce poaching. Uncertainties still exist in the reliability of the reporting and illegal activity is thought to be moderate (DFO, 2013 and Criquet, et al 2014).

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3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 29 November 2014

Lobster gear is also recognized as a potential danger to North Atlantic humpback, fin, minke whales, and the endangered Norther Right Whale. However the area for this fishery is not considered important for any of these species (Criquet et al, 2014). Other possible interactions with PET species include Wolfish and Leatherback turtles.For Wolfish management measures are in place to return individuals caught quickly back to the water, and as such the mortality is considered low(Criquet et al, 2014). For Turtels,logbook information is mandatory and show no catches ofLeatherback turtles in the area.Further Satellite telemetry has confirmed that only a small portion of the stock area overlaps with Leatherback turtles habitat (Criquet et al, 2014).

Other Species

Last updated on 30 November 2014

Although bycatch is not monitored, its volume and composition is presumed to be well understood. An estimated 23% of the Canadian lobster catch is discarded, but survival of discarded animals is thought to be high. Other bycatch includes some crabs and other invertebrates (notably jonah crab, rock crab, conches, and deep sea red crab), and fish. Mortality of discarded bycatch species is not known but is expected to be low. Both biodegradable panels and escape vents are used in this fishery (Criquet et al, 2014). Direct observation by at-sea observers on bycatch, discard, and related mortality is lacking however.

HABITAT

Last updated on 29 November 2014

There is little scientific information on habitat impacts of pots and traps in the area. Single pots and long-lined strings of pots are used in this fishery, with larger, heavier pots deployed in offshore areas. Traps are deployed on a variety of bottom habitats including hard substrates, canyons, mud, clay, and sand; most commonly fished substrates are sandy, muddy and rocky areas. Lobster gear is not fished intensively in the most vulnerable areas (e.g. coral banks). Managers regulate the amount of effort (both number of pots as well as fishing areas and the number of fishermen. Additionally the area is not considered significant for either corals or sponges, so impact is thought to be low (Criquet et al, 2014).

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 29 Nov 2014

Numerous closed areas are in place to protect feeding, spawning, and larval grounds of lobsters. At least three Marine Protected Areas exist on Canada’s Scotian shelf to protect octocoral ecosystems: the Gully marine Protected Area, the Northeast Channel Conservation Area, and Stone Fence Fisheries Closure. Within the area of interest Bassin Head is an area which is fully protected as an MPA. the Shediac Valley area is a candidate area which maybe included as an MPA in the near future but that already has some protections in place (Criquet et al, 2014).

FishSource Scores

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2011 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

Stock has new reference points based strictly on landings performance it is unknown however how these reference perform(DFO, 2013).

As calculated for 2011 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Managers generally follow scientific guidelines but have not defined harvest control rules to be adopted when the fishery approaches its limit reference point(DFO, 2013).

As calculated for 2011 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Harvesters comply with regulations but there is continued concerns on the reliability of catch data and uncertainty with regards to unreported lobster landings. (DFO, 2013)

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2011 data.

The score is 8.4.

This measures the TB as a percentage of the URL.

The TB is 19.1 ('000 t). The URL is 17.2 ('000 t) .

The underlying TB/URL for this index is 111%.

As calculated for 2011 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

Fish mortality indicators have suggested a recent reduction in exploitation (DFO, 2013)

To see data for biomass, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for catch and tac, please view this site on a desktop.
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for recruitment
No data available for recruitment
To see data for management quality, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for stock status, please view this site on a desktop.

Download Source Data

Registered users can download the original data file for calculating the scores after logging in. If you wish, you can Register now.

Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

SELECT MSC

NAME

Bay of Fundy, Scotian Shelf and Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence lobster trap

STATUS

MSC Certified on 26 May 2015

SCORES

Principle Level Scores:

Unit of certification 1 - Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence

Principle Score
Principle 1 – Target Species 81.3
Principle 2 - Ecosystem 85.3
Principle 3 – Management System 90.8

Unit of certification 2 - Scotian Shelf, LFAs 27-33

Unit of certification 3 - Scotian Shelf, LFAs 34

Unit of certification 4 - Bay of Fundy, LFAs 35-38

Principle Score
Principle 1 – Target Species 80.3
Principle 2 - Ecosystem 83.7
Principle 3 – Management System 89.3

Certification Type: Silver

Sources

Credits
  1. Criquet,G. Brêthes, JC. Allain, R.J. 2014 Marine Stewardship Council Assessment Public Certification Report For the Prince Edward Island lobster (Homarus americanus) Trap Fisheryhttp://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/north-west-atlantic/prince-edward-island-lobster-trap/assessment-downloads-1/20141106_PCR_LOB415.pdf
  2. DFO, 2007. Framework and Assessment for Lobster (Homarus americanus) in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Lobster Fishing Areas 23, 24, 25, 26A and 26B. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2007/035.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas/Csas/status/2007/SAR-AS2007_035_E.pdf
  3. DFO. 2013. American lobster, Homarus americanus, stock status in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence: LFA 23, 24, 25, 26a and 26b. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2013/029.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/library/348839.pdf
References

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    American lobster - Gulf of St. Lawrence South, Canada LFA 23-26A,B, Canada, Traps

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