Buoyless Lobster Trap

Primary tabs

Project Type: 

Students Involved:

Christopher Basque University of New Hampshire
Alec Carignan University of New Hampshire
Matthew Landry University of New Hampshire

Faculty Advisors:

Kenneth Baldwin UNH - Department of Mechanical Engineering
Though visitors of coastal towns enjoy the sight of colorful buoys floating offshore in the harbor, the lines that span the water column from the buoy to the seafloor can cause entanglement of marine mammals, especially whales. Equally harmful are free-floating lines, torn from buoys and traps by marine traffic and harsh storms, wrapping up marine life and leading to injury and possible death. Removing buoys and vertical lines from the water column will prevent the unnecessary endangerment of marine mammals while clearing the way for marine traffic and end the litter of lost buoys and lines.
This proof-of-concept solution drags the buoy and line down to the seafloor with the lobster traps and releases the buoy once the device receives a specific acoustic signal from a boat on the ocean surface. Though the device is housed within a lobster trap, it does not catch any lobsters. The lobster trap is used so that it can easily be attached to a trawl, or line of lobster traps. This means all the fishing equipment sits on the sea floor leaving no vertical lines or buoys free in the ocean until retrieval. This will protect most gear from being lost due to damage from storms and marine traffic and leave a clear water column for marine mammals.


Available from the National Sea Grant Library (use NHU number to search) or NH Sea Grant


  • Buoyless lobster trap (2015). Christopher Basque, Alec Carignan and Matthew Landry. Advisor: Kenneth Baldwin.