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Northeast/Mid-Atlantic American Lobster Trap/Pot

Current Classification on the 2017 LOF

Category I
Estimated Number of Participants 10,163
Target Species American lobster
Applicable Take Reduction Plans Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan
Observer Coverage N/A
Marine Mammal Species/Stocks Killed or Injured Humpback whale, Gulf of Maine;
Minke whale, Canadian East Coast;
North Atlantic right whale, WNA1

^ Number of participants estimates are based on state and federal fisheries permit data.  The estimated number of participants is expressed in terms of the number of active participants in the fishery, when possible.  If this information is not available, the estimated number of vessels or persons licensed for a particular fishery is provided.  If no recent information is available on the number of participants, then the number from the most recent LOF is used.  NMFS acknowledges that, in some cases, these estimations may be inflating actual effort.  

*Observer coverage levels include the latest information reported in the most current final Stock Assessment Report (SAR)

1Indicates the stock or species is driving the classification of the fishery 

Note: Current classification based on final LOF, no proposed changes are reflected in this table.

Basis for Current Classification

The annual level of serious injury and mortality of North Atlantic right whales (Western North Atlantic [WNA] stock), humpback whales (Gulf of Maine stock), and minke whales (Canadian East Coast stock) in this fishery exceeds 50% of each stocks’ Potential Biological Removal (PBR) level.

Distribution

The fishery operates in inshore and offshore waters from Maine to New Jersey and may extend as far south as Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  Approximately 80% of American lobsters are harvested from state waters.

Gear Description

This fishery operates primarily with traps, while 2-3% of the target species are taken by mobile gear (trawls and dredges).  

Management

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has a primary regulatory role for this fishery because the majority of the harvest is taken from state waters.  The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) portion of the fishery operates under regulations from the Federal American Lobster Fishery Management Plan (FMP).  Both the EEZ and state fishery are operating under Federal regulations from the ALWTRP.

 

Historical Information

Original Category (Year added to the LOF) I (1997)
Original Number of Participants 13,000
Basis for Original Classification The current fishery was created by combining the Category III “Gulf of Maine, U.S. Mid-Atlantic Lobster Offshore Trap/Pot” and “Gulf of Maine, U.S. Mid-Atlantic Lobster Inshore Trap/Pot” fisheries into the “Gulf of Maine, U.S. Mid-Atlantic Lobster Trap/Pot” and immediately elevating this combined fishery to a Category I based on mortality and serious injury of North Atlantic right whales exceeding 50% of the stock’s PBR.   NMFS received opportunistic reports from 1990-1994 (therefore, all information represents the minimum number of interactions) of free-swimming or stranding entangled animals.  Reports included: 2 North Atlantic right whales, or 0.4 animals/year (100% of the PBR of 0.4); 7 minke whales, or 1.4 animals/year (7% of the PBR of 21); and 11 humpback whales, or 1.8 animals/year (19% of the PBR of 9.7).  NMFS also had records of 25 other entanglements not used in analysis due to insufficient information on gear type, but some were likely due to lobster gear.
Past Names Added as current name in 2001 and added as current categorization in 1997, though fishery has been listed on the LOF under different names and categorizations since 1989. “Gulf of Maine, U.S. Mid-Atlantic Lobster Trap/Pot” until 1997-2001; “Gulf of Maine, U.S. Mid-Atlantic Lobster Offshore Trap/Pot” and “Gulf of Maine, U.S. Mid-Atlantic Lobster Inshore Trap/Pot” 1992-1997; “Gulf of Maine, Southern Atlantic Inshore Lobster Trap/Pot” and “Gulf of Maine, Southern Atlantic Offshore Lobster Trap/Pot” 1991-1992; “Gulf of Maine, Southern New England Inshore Lobster Trap/Pot” and “Gulf of Maine, Southern New England Offshore Lobster Trap/Pot” 1989-1991.
Species/stocks historically documented as killed or injured (but not currently on the list) N/A

 

Timeline of Changes

2017
  • Removed harbor seal (WNA).
2016
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 11, 693 to 10,163.
2013
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 11,767 to 11, 693.
2012
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 12,489 to 11,767.  
2011
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 13,000 to 12,489.  
2010
  • Removed fin whale (WNA) from the list of species/stocks killed/injured in this fishery.  Fin whales were added in 1997 based on an animal that was thought to have been entangled in lobster gear.  Subsequent analysis revealed the interaction was with hagfish pot gear and the LOF was never updated to reflect this analysis.  A fin whale has never been reported killed or injured in this fishery.
  • Removed superscript "1" after humpback whale (Gulf of Maine) and minke whale (Canadian east coast) because these stocks are not driving the Category I classification of the fishery.  Annual mortality and serious injury of humpback whales in all lobster fisheries is 0.2 animals (PBR=1.1), or 18% of PBR; minke whales in all lobster fisheries is 0.4 animals (PBR=19), or 2%of PBR.  The annual mortality and serious injury of humpback and minke whales in this fishery is unknown, but is likely less than 50% of the stocks' PBRs.
  • Retained the superscript "1" after North Atlantic right whale (WNA) because annual mortality and serious injury in all lobster fisheries is 0.2 (PBR=0), and take in this fishery is likely more than 50% of the stock's PBR.
2008
  • Changed the name of the stock of humpback whales interacting with this fishery from “WNA" to “Gulf of Maine" to reflect the interactions taking place between this fishery and the Gulf of Maine feeding stock of humpback whales.  The Gulf of Maine stock was classified as a separate feeding stock and reported as such in the 2000 Stock Assessment Report (SAR).
2006
  • Added a superscript “1” in Table 2 after humpback whale (WNA), minke whale (Canadian East Coast), and North Atlantic right whale (WNA), indicating that these stocks are driving the categorization of this fishery.
2001
  • White-sided dolphin (WNA) deleted from list of species/stocks killed/injured in this fishery based on a lack of observed interactions in recent years.
  • Renamed from the “Gulf of Maine, U.S. Mid-Atlantic lobster trap/pot fishery’ to the "Northeast/Mid-Atlantic American lobster trap/pot fishery" to reflect the distinction between the American lobster fishery and the spiny lobster fishery, and to clarify that fishing occurs in other areas of the Northeast.


 

Updated December 14, 2016