DMR Lobster Research, Monitoring, and Assessment Program
The Lobster Program is the longest running, on going, catch and effort study within the Department of Marine Resources. In addition to lobster landings statistics, this program has been collecting statistical information on the commercial and natural population of lobsters along the Maine coast for over 40 years. It is responsible for numerous studies pertaining to the lobster industry as well as some information on crabs.
The Lobster Program has four major sections - select each for more information, or scroll down the page:
The Commercial Lobster Port Sampling Program
This program, the collection of catch and effort data directly from lobstermen as they land their catch, began in August 1966 and is still in operation.
Ten lobster buying locations (dealers buying directly from the fishermen) are selected at random each month, April through December.
The Sea Sampling Program
This program began in 1985. The objective is to ride aboard individual lobster boats, at different locations along the coast, and record information as the lobsterman hauls his/her traps. The number of legal, sublegal and illegal lobsters are counted, measured and sexed. See a full description of our Lobster Sea Sampling Program here.
The Biological Studies Program
- Ventless Trap Survey
- Sublegal Lobster Tagging
Since 1979 we have marked and tagged sublegal lobsters by punching/clipping tail flippers and abdominal scutes and by applying external back and internal microwire tags, respectively.
- Gear Selectivity
Since the late 1970s we have seasonally fished research traps in the Boothbay Harbor/Southport Island vicinity in order to evaluate sex ratios, vent size/location, catch/cull rates, bait types, and the efficiency of wood vs. wire traps.
- Larval Studies
From 1985 through 1991 we collected lobster larvae in dip nets and an electrical light trap.
- New England Settlement Index
To better understand factors influencing Maine's lobster population dynamics, current research involves physiological and functional maturity along the Maine coast.
- Maine-New Hampshire Inshore Trawl Survey
A scientific paper comparing lobster catches from the Maine-New Hampshire inshore trawl survey with the NMFS offshore trawl survey, by Dr. Yong Chen, Sally Sherman, Carl Wilson, and John Sowles was published in Fishery Bulletin in 2006. It is available in PDF format by selecting the link below. If you have trouble with this link, please contact Carl Wilson for a copy.
Lobster Stock Assessment
Along with federal scientists and scientists from other states, Maine scientists participate in the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's lobster assessment process.
Other Lobster Information