Summary

IDENTIFICATION

Last updated on 29 December 2016

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Homarus americanus

SPECIES NAME(S)

American lobster

COMMON NAMES

Atlantic Lobster, Maine Lobster


ANALYSIS

No related analysis

SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

5.1

Managers Compliance:

≥ 8

Fishers Compliance:

≥ 8

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

10

Future Health:

9.6


RECOMMENDATIONS

CATCHERS & REGULATORS

1. Start a fishery improvement project to address sustainability issues in this fishery. For advice on starting a FIP, see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs at http://www.sustainablefish.org/publications/2014/04/30/the-seafood-industry-guide-to-fips.
2. Communicate to fishery managers that there are sustainability issues in this fishery that may be affecting the sale of products, and request that they comprehensively evaluate and address such issues.

1. Work actively to address and close out conditions placed upon the certification of the fishery in the agreed timeframe.
2. Report achievements publicly to share progress with buyers.

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN

1. Encourage your supply chain to start a fishery improvement project. For advice on starting a FIP see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs at http://www.sustainablefish.org/publications/2014/04/30/the-seafood-industry-guide-to-fips.
2. Work with other suppliers and buyers on a pre-competitive basis to start a supplier roundtable to review improvement needs in this and other similar fisheries, catalyze fishery improvement projects, and monitor progress in improvement efforts.

1. Monitor the progress in closing out conditions placed upon the certification of the fishery and if agreed timelines are met.
2. Express your support to help meet conditions that may be at a government/regulatory level (where applicable).


FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

No related MSC fisheries

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
Georges Bank and Off-Shore Nova Scotia Canada LFA 41 Canada Pots
Traps
US Atlantic United States Pots

Analysis

OVERVIEW

RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 28 June 2016

Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators

1. Work actively to address and close out conditions placed upon the certification of the fishery in the agreed timeframe.
2. Report achievements publicly to share progress with buyers.

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain

1. Monitor the progress in closing out conditions placed upon the certification of the fishery and if agreed timelines are met.
2. Express your support to help meet conditions that may be at a government/regulatory level (where applicable).

US Atlantic

Last updated on 28 June 2016

Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators

1. Start a fishery improvement project to address sustainability issues in this fishery. For advice on starting a FIP, see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs at http://www.sustainablefish.org/publications/2014/04/30/the-seafood-industry-guide-to-fips.
2. Communicate to fishery managers that there are sustainability issues in this fishery that may be affecting the sale of products, and request that they comprehensively evaluate and address such issues.

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain

1. Encourage your supply chain to start a fishery improvement project. For advice on starting a FIP see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs at http://www.sustainablefish.org/publications/2014/04/30/the-seafood-industry-guide-to-fips.
2. Work with other suppliers and buyers on a pre-competitive basis to start a supplier roundtable to review improvement needs in this and other similar fisheries, catalyze fishery improvement projects, and monitor progress in improvement efforts.

1.STOCK STATUS

Stock Assessment
US Atlantic
United States
Pots

Last updated on 26 December 2016

Three stocks units in northeast United States have been identified based primarily on regional differences in life history parameters. They are the Gulf of Maine (GOM), Georges Bank (GBK), and Southern New England (SNE). Each stock supports both an inshore and offshore component, however GOM and SNE areas are predominantly inshore fisheries, while the GBK area is predominantly an offshore fishery.Life history model (egg-per-recruit model or EPR) is used to estimate egg production per recruit and other per-recruit reference points for male and female lobster in each stock assessment region. Mortality and abundance of male and female lobster in individual areas are then estimated. Stock assessments have been done for 1996, 2000 and 2006 by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and for 1993 by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC).The primary models used to assess American lobster stocks since 1992 are length-based virtual population analysis, the Collie-Sissenwine (a.k.a. modified DeLury) model, and the life history (a.k.a. egg production per recruit or EPR) model. Length-based VPA and the Collie-Sissenwine model (CSM) were used to estimate abundance and fishing mortality rates in the stock using landings and bottom trawl survey data. The life history model was used to calculate egg production per recruit reference points such as F10%, the fishing mortality rate that allows female lobster recruits opportunity, on average, to spawn 10% of the number of eggs that would be spawned in the absence of a fishery. The Lobster Stock Assessment Committee (LSAC) recommends median abundance and median fishing mortality as threshold reference points for American lobster.Early in 1996, a Lobster Review Panel composed of internationally renowned scientists was convened by ASMFC and NMFS to provide advice on stock structure, stock assessment, abundance changes, management, and benthic ecology (ASMFC, 1996). The Panel concurred with NEFSC’s (1996) conclusion that the lobster resource was overfished (F> F10%) in all areas. The Panel endorsed the stock assessment methods and stock definitions used by NEFSC (1996) and made a number of recommendations for future research and development.
Scientific Advice
US Atlantic
United States
Pots

Last updated on 26 December 2016

The SAC (Stock Assessment Committee) recommends that the ASMFC lobster board redefine management area boundaries so that they match, or completely fall within, stock unit boundaries. Moreover, it is said that ‘it is not possible to provide robust management advice for management areas that span multiple stock areas due to differences in stock trends, biological parameters, and management measures in adjacent areas.’

There is no advised TAC / Quota provided by the stock assessment.

Reference Points
US Atlantic
United States
Pots

Last updated on 26 December 2016

The F10% reference point has been used consistently in lobster stock assessments to determine if overfishing is occurring. Median fishable abundance (recruits + post-recruits) and median fishing mortality are recommended as threshold reference points for each lobster stock assessment region in this assessment. This means that managers should attempt to increase abundance of stocks when recent abundance (averaged over the last three years) falls below the threshold or target levels. Managers should attempt to reduce fishing mortality if recent fishing mortality levels (averaged over the last three years) are above the median threshold or target levels.Based on the recommended reference points and depending on details in the definitions, “overfishing” would occur if fishing mortality rates were substantially higher than the median threshold. A stock would be “depleted” according to the definition if abundance fell below the median threshold level. In either of these cases, corrective management action should be implemented.Biological reference points for Georges Bank American lobster stock unit:Fishing mortality threshold = 0.34 Fishing mortality target = 0.31 Abundance threshold (millions of lobster) = 7.95 Abundance target (millions of lobster) = 8.61
Current Status
US Atlantic
United States
Pots

Last updated on 26 December 2016

The GBK stock is in a favorable condition based on the recommended BRPs. The stock is above the abundance target and below its fishing mortality target. In terms of the recommended reference points, the GBK stock is not depleted and overfishing is not occurring.

Trends
US Atlantic
United States
Pots

Last updated on 26 December 2016

In general, commercial landings were relatively stable, averaging 1,380 mt annually between 1981 and 2003. Since then landings have risen to a series high of 2,300 mt in 2005. Showing similar trend, the Georges Bank lobster stock though relatively stable, has shown a modest increase in abundance over the last 10–15 years. Abundance varied between 6.2 and 9.3 million lobsters between 1982 and 2003.

Fishing mortality (sexes combined) was low compared to other areas and fluctuated around 0.34 throughout the period 1981 to 2003. Fishing mortality in 2003 was estimated to be 0.27.

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

Managers' Decisions
US Atlantic
United States
Pots

Last updated on 26 December 2016

There is no set TAC/quota. Primary regulatory measures in all lobster management areas include Carapace Length (CL) limits, protection of ovigerous females, gear restrictions, and nominal effort control measures

There is no set TAC. The fishery is managed with permit restrictions, traps limits (number of vessel), sex restrictions (male only), closed areas, gear restrictions and minimum size limits (ASMFC, 1997). These regulations and restrictions are set within scientific advice.

.

Recovery Plans
US Atlantic
United States
Pots

Last updated on 26 December 2016

Using the recommended reference points, the GBK lobster stock is in good condition (not depleted and overfishing is not occurring), therefore recovery plans is not applicable.

Compliance
US Atlantic
United States
Pots

Last updated on 26 December 2016

In general fishermen cooperate and comply with management authorities in the harvest of this resource.

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

ETP Species
US Atlantic
United States
Pots

Last updated on 26 December 2016

The U.S. mid-Atlantic lobster trap/pot fishery is currently classified as a Category I fishery (under the MMPA) that has a historical incidental bycatch of four large whales — the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis_), the Western North Atlantic stock of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), the Western Atlantic stock of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) and Canadian East Coast stock of minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata).

In general, the U.S. mid-Atlantic lobster trap/pot fishery is currently classified as a Category I fishery (under the MMPA) that has a historical incidental bycatch of four large whales — the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis), the Western North Atlantic stock of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), the Western Atlantic stock of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) and Canadian East Coast stock of minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)..

Other Target and Bycatch Species
US Atlantic
United States
Pots

Last updated on 26 December 2016

Only pots and traps are allowed to land lobster for commercial purposes. Pots and traps were ranked “Very Low” for bycatch of sharks, seabirds, and turtles, “Low” for bycatch of finfish, “Medium” for interactions with marine mammals (addressed below), and “High” only for bycatch of shellfish and crabs .

Bycatch in lobster traps is reported to consist of a variety of animals attracted to bait and capable of entering traps. Types of fish occasionally caught in lobster traps include tautog, scup, black sea bass, cod, cusk, eels and flounder. In addition to fish, a variety of invertebrates are found in and attached to lobster traps. These include rock crabs, Jonah crabs, red crabs, starfish, urchins, whelks and conchs.

Ironically, the animal perhaps most commonly discarded from lobster traps is American lobster. However, given the frequency with which discarded lobsters are re-caught (v-notched females), discard mortality of these regulatory discards appears to be very low, but there is no information on the discard mortality of undersized and female lobsters. There is not much (if any) discarding of legal lobsters above the minimum size.

Habitat
US Atlantic
United States
Pots

Last updated on 26 December 2016

A study which occurred in the eastern North Atlantic, found no lasting effects of pots on the abundance of epifauna such as sea pens, sea fans, and sponges, even on rocky substrates. Even four weeks of relatively intensive fishing with pots did not produce obvious detrimental effects on the abundance of the species studied, though long-term effects on deep-water corals remained a concern. However, it has also been speculated that millions of traps hauled several times a week may produce “a significant cumulative effect” in areas that are fished intensely.

The identification of habitat important to post-larval settlement and early benthic phase lobster is necessary in order to calculate a density index and evaluate a stock- recruitment relationship. Changes in species composition by area, from a hard bottom complex to a soft bottom complex and prey diversity on each bottom type should be determined. This information is an important precursor to recruitment assessments and to mobile gear impact studies. Mobile gear impact research has been conducted on sand and mud substrates. Valuable data has been collected on its effects on lobster and habitat; however, similar research is sorely lacking on hard bottom habitat.

It should be mentioned that lobster pots have potentially positive effects on some aspects of habitat. For example, pots may temporarily act as reef habitat for fish. Similarly, they may provide temporary shelter, or even protect large areas of the seafloor by making them inaccessible to mobile gear (i.e., trawls and dredges).

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 29 December 2016

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2007 data.

This measures the F at low biomass as a percentage of the F management target.

The F at low biomass is 0.620 (from management plan). The F management target is 0.510 .

The underlying F at low biomass/F management target for this index is 122%.

As calculated for 2007 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

Managers follow advice (ASMFC, 2009e)

As calculated for 2007 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

Harvesters comply with regulations (ASMFC, 2009e)

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2007 data.

This measures the SSB as a percentage of the SSB=SSBmsy.

The SSB is 3910 ('000 t). The SSB=SSBmsy is 1900 .

The underlying SSB/SSB=SSBmsy for this index is 206%.

As calculated for 2007 data.

This measures the F as a percentage of the F management target.

The F is 0.310 . The F management target is 0.510 .

The underlying F/F management target for this index is 60.8%.

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE RISK

High Medium Low

This indicates the potential risk of human rights abuses within this fishery.

No data available for recruitment

Download Source Data

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

Credits
  1. Addison, J., Powles, H., Angel, J., Park, A. 2012. Second Annual Surveillance Report: Eastern Canada Offshore Lobster (Homarus americanus). Intertek Moody Marine, June 2012. 29pphttp://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/north-west-atlantic/Eastern-Canada-offshore-lobster/assessment-downloads-1/20120625_SR.pdf
  2. Bannister, C. Powles, H. Angel, J. Knapman, P. 2010. Eastern Canada Offshore Lobster Fishery. Moody Marine LTD.http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/certified/north-west-atlantic/Eastern-Canada-offshore-lobster/assessment-downloads-1/13.01.2010-eastern-canada-lobster-pcdr.pdf
  3. Blyth-Skyrme, R., Addison, J., 2014. Fourth Annual Surveillance Report - Clearwater Seafoods Limited Partnership. Eastern Canada Offshore Lobster (Homarus americanus) Fishery. Intertek Fisheries Certification Ltd, July 2014. 31pphttp://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/north-west-atlantic/Eastern-Canada-offshore-lobster/assessment-downloads-1/20140722_SR_LOB39.pdf
  4. Blyth-Skyrme, R., Addison, j., Angel, J., 2015. Eastern Canada Offshore Lobster Fishery V.5 – Public Certification Report. Intertek Fisheries Certification (IFC). June 2015. 197pphttps://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/north-west-atlantic/Eastern-Canada-offshore-lobster/re-assessment-downloads/20150630_PCR_LOB39.pdf
  5. Blyth-Skyrme, R., Addison, j., Angel, J., 2015. Eastern Canada Offshore Lobster Fishery V.5 – Public Certification Report. Intertek Fisheries Certification (IFC). June 2015. 197pphttps://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/north-west-atlantic/Eastern-Canada-offshore-lobster/re-assessment-downloads/20150630_PCR_LOB39.pdf
  6. DFO. 2009. Assessment of Lobster in Lobster Fishing Area 41 (4X + 5Zc). DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2009/033http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/CSAS/Csas/Publications/SAR-AS/2009/2009_033_e.pdf
  7. Powles, H., Bannister, C., Knapman, P. 2013.Third Annual Surveillance Report Clearwater Seafoods Limited Partnership:Eastern Canada Offshore Lobster (Homarus americanus) Fishery. Intertek Moody Marine, June 2013. 26pphttp://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/north-west-atlantic/Eastern-Canada-offshore-lobster/assessment-downloads-1/20130702_SR_LOB39.pdf
References

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    American lobster - Georges Bank and Off-Shore Nova Scotia, US Atlantic, United States, Pots

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