Lobster Sustainability Measures in Newfoundland: Are They Effective?

Seiden, Jennica and Wilke, Kate and Schneider, David C. (2012) Lobster Sustainability Measures in Newfoundland: Are They Effective? Research Report. Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

[img] [English] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (1MB)


The American lobster (Homarus americanus) fishery is a locally reliable inshore commercial fishery in North America with an economic value of CAD 550 million/year in Atlantic Canada. In Newfoundland, this provides 30 million/year in landed value and has considerable socio-economic value (2900 license holders) in rural communities throughout the province. The small boat lobster fishery is at once a regular source of income and part of the cultural integrity of coastal communities in Newfoundland. In recent years concern about the sustainability of this fishery has risen because the percent of harvestable lobsters taken from populations each year is at least 75% in almost all Canadian stocks and in some areas rises to over 95%. The Fisheries Research Conservation Council concluded (FRCC 2007) that in the absence of science data on lobster stocks the fate of future stocks is uncertain if lobsters continue to be harvested at recent rates. Several conservation initiatives were undertaken, with local support, to address these concerns and now form current management practice. These were closed areas [including federally designated marine protected areas (MPAs)], voluntary v-notching, a minimal landing size of 82.5 mm, and the adoption of a maximum size limit in four Lobster Fishing Areas (i.e., a slot fishery). The need for better scientific data on the effectiveness of these measures sparked the FFAW and fish harvesters in Newfoundland to collect data, contribute to the assessment of the stock, and propose a collaborative research project with Memorial University scientists in conjunction with CURRA, the Community-University Research for Recovery Alliance (www.curra.ca). With support from NSERC (Natural Science and Engineering Research Council) a 3 year project was undertaken to address questions being asked by harvesters: are these resource sustainability initiatives (v-notching, closed areas, and a slot fishery) effective?; and specifically, do these measures result in increased egg production and increased size/age distribution, which in turn increase egg production? To establish whether these measures have a science basis we used a central concept in population biology called "reproductive value" to evaluate the effectiveness of these measures. Reproductive value considers not only current egg production, it takes into account the expected future value of the individual to the population. Reproductive value allows us to compare the value of an individual as a commodity with its value to its population.

Item Type: Report (Research Report)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/14128
Item ID: 14128
Department(s): Divisions > Community-University Research for Recovery Alliance (CURRA)
Date: 2012
Date Type: Publication
Related URLs:

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over the past year

View more statistics