The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative provides this list of practices that Maine lobstermen use while harvesting Maine’s staple resource:
- Female Tail Notching: If a lobsterman catches a female lobster with visible eggs, she cannot be harvested. Before releasing her, the lobsterman notches her tail to identify her as a good breeder, protecting her from harvesting so that she may continue breeding for the rest of her life.
- Minimum Size Limit: Lobstermen must throw back any lobster that has a carapace measuring less than 3 1/4″. This allows juvenile lobsters the opportunity to mature and reproduce before they are harvested.
- Maximum Size Limit: Any lobsters caught in a trap that has a carapace measurement greater than 5″ must be thrown back to protect the large breeding stock.
- Apprenticeship: All new lobster harvesters must apprentice with veterans to learn the regulated, sustainable practices before receiving their own fishing licenses in the state of Maine.
- Trap Limits: The total number of traps each harvester is allowed to have is limited by both the state of Maine and individual lobster zones.
- Harvest Method: Lobster harvesting in Maine is by trap only – no dragging or diving is allowed. The traps include escape vents for under-size lobsters, and also contain biodegradable escape hatches to free lobsters if a trap is lost.
- Lobster Seed Fund: The Lobster Seed Fund purchases females that extrude their eggs after being harvested. This unique buy-back program helps to ensure that a good breeding stock is returned to the ocean to reproduce.
To learn more about the Maine Lobster industry’s sustainability efforts, we encourage you to visit LobsterFromMaine.com. The Maine Lobster Festival is proud to promote an industry that strives to protect its resource and the livelihood of many Maine lobstermen through these practices.