The American lobster, Homarus americanus, is the most commercially valuable species harvested in the northwest Atlantic Ocean. It inhabits a large region extending from Labrador to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and is found in depths of up to 700 meters. The fishery for lobsters is divided into an inshore and an offshore component for which different management regulations apply. The offshore fishery is defined by the area over 19km from shore and out to the continental shelf edge and slope. While a large amount of data has been collected from the inshore fishery, data from the offshore fishery are sparse, partly because it has a shorter history of exploitation and sea sampling offshore is more difficult due to longer times at sea. Although the offshore fishery developed in the 1950's, fishing pressure did not begin to rapidly increase until the 1960's. Landings reached a peak in 1972 and then declined until the 1980s when catch levels became more stable (Fogarty et al., 1982). Landings from the offshore fishery currently comprise 7-12% of the total catch for New England (Bob Ross, NMFS). Because of the increase in fishing pressure by the offshore fishery it has become more important to monitor the affects of fishing mortality on the offshore lobster population. Fogarty, M.J. Cooper, R.A. Uzmann,, J.R., and Burns, T. 1982. Assessment of the USA offshore American Lobster (Homarus americanus) fishery. Int. Counc. Explor. Sea Res. Doc. C.M. 1982/K: 14, 1-21. Click images to enlarge.
Sites where Data are being Collected
Right is a map of where our data comes from (click to expand). Approximately 12 boats participated. They each reported their catch from one string that they haul every approximately every two weeks throughout the year.
PINK circles indicate Gulf of Maine basin and inshore areas, ORANGE circles indicate Northern shoal and canyon areas, GREEN circles indicate Middle shoal and canyon areas, and YELLOW circles indicate Southern shoal and canyon areas.