Lobster patrol: An eye on the fisheries

What Southern New England and Mid-Atlantic states are doing about lobster management

Posted:  Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 3:00pm

The states of Massachusetts through Delaware have scheduled hearings to gather public comment on Draft Addendum XXV to Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Lobster. 

The Draft Addendum seeks to address the depleted condition of the Southern New England stock while preserving a functional portion of the SNE lobster fishery. The document presents a suite of management measures to increase egg production and lower fishing mortality through a combination of management tools including gauge size changes, season closures, and trap reductions.

The Draft Addendum responds to the results of the 2015 American Lobster Benchmark Stock Assessment which found the SNE stock is severely depleted and experiencing recruitment failure. Declines in population abundance were most pronounced in the inshore portion of the stock where environmental conditions have remained unfavorable to lobster since the late 1990s. These stock declines are largely in response to adverse environmental conditions, including increasing water temperatures over the last 15 years, combined with continued fishing mortality.

Draft Addendum XXV focuses on increasing egg production so that, if environmental conditions become favorable, the SNE stock can benefit from a strong recruitment year. The Draft Addendum includes seven issues.

The first proposes four targets to increase egg production, ranging from 20 to 60 percent, with an additional option for status quo.

The second issue seeks input on proposed management tools to increase egg production and whether these tools should be used independently or in conjunction with one another.

The third issue addresses the effects of proposed measures on the recreational fishery.

The fourth issue explores the implementation of season closures and potential impacts to the Jonah crab fishery.

The fifth issue examines whether management measures should be uniform across Lobster Conservation Management Areas (LCMA) in SNE.

The sixth issue asks how management measures should be applied to the offshore waters of LCMA 3, which spans both the Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank and SNE stock units.

The seventh issue asks whether de minimis states should be exempt from management action taken in the addendum.

Fishermen and interested stakeholders are encouraged to provide input on the Draft Addendum either by attending state public hearings or providing written comment. The Draft Addendum can be obtained at http://www.asmfc.org/files/PublicInput/AmLobsterDraftAddendumXXV_PublicComment.pd for via the Commission's website, www.asmfc.org, under Public Input. Public comment will be accepted until 5 PM (EST) on April 7, 2017 and should be forwarded to Megan Ware, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or at mware@asmfc.org (Subject line: Draft Addendum XXV).

The Board will review submitted public comment and consider action on the Addendum at the Commission's Spring Meeting in May 2017. For more information, please contact Megan Ware, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at mware@asmfc.org or 703.842.0740.

Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries

March 23, 2017; 6 PM

MA Maritime Academy Admiral’s Hall

101 Academy Drive

Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts

Contact: Dan McKiernanat 617.626.1536


Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife

March 22, 2017; 6 PM

University of Rhode Island Bay Campus

Corless Auditorium, South Ferry Road

Narragansett, Rhode Island

Contact: Scott Olszewski at 401.423.1934


Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

March 21, 2017; 7PM

DEEP Marine Headquarters Boating Education Center

333 Ferry Road

Old Lyme, Connecticut

Contact: Mark Alexanderat 860.447.4322


March 27, 2017; 7PM

DEEP Kellogg Environmental Center

500 Hawthorne Avenue

Derby, Connecticut

Contact: Mark Alexander at 860.447.4322


New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

March 20, 2017; 6 PM

NYSDEC Division of Marine Resources

205 N. Belle Mead Road

East Setauket, New York

Contact: Kim McKown at 631.444.0454


New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife

March 15, 2017; 6PM

Belmar Municipal Court

601 Main Street

Belmar, New Jersey

Contact: Tom Baumat 609.748.2020


Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control & Maryland Department of Natural Resources

March 16, 2017; 3 PM

Ocean Pines Library Branch

11107 Cathell Road

Ocean Pines, Maryland

Contact: Craig Weedon at 410.643.4601