American Lobster Research Program

The American lobster (Homarus americanus) is one of the most iconic modern American fisheries and total U. S. landings of lobster have steadily increased over the past 35 years.

The American lobster fishery is one of the largest and most valuable fisheries along the Atlantic coast.

In 2017,

credit: Wikipedia

the American lobster fishery was the third highest value U. S. commercial species, valued at $594 million, behind salmon and crabs.

Rising ocean temperatures have caused global fish population distribution shifts, and studies suggest warming temperatures may also directly impact the migration, growth, maturity, and natural mortality of American lobster.

Of equal concern are potential impacts to lobster larval mortality due to ecosystem and food web changes.

Lobster habitat is also changing, although the degree to which is unknown.

These changes present threats to the American lobster fishery in the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank, and southern New England.

Although lobster populations and landings in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank have been increasing since the late 1990s, young-of-year surveys began showing declines in 201 2. The state of Maine, where more than seventy-five percent of lobsters harvested in the US were landed in 2017, continued to see lobster landings decrease below the five-year average in October of 201 9. Gaps in scientific knowledge and economic uncertainties, such as recent regulatory adjustments regarding Atlantic herring, a primary bait for lobster, continue to drive the need for research to enhance understanding and investigate how these factors impact the American Lobster fishery.
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