Developing Indices Necessary for Predicting Commercial Catches of the American Lobster, Homarus Americanus

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Fisheries Resources


Stanley Cobb University of Rhode Island Associate Investigator
Richard Wahle Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences Associate Investigator
W. Huntting Howell UNH - Department of Biological Sciences Principal Investigator
Winsor Watson UNH - Department of Biological Sciences Principal Investigator
Robert Steneck University of Maine Darling Marine Center Principal Investigator

1) To test the recently developed "PVC settlement collector" as a tool to quantify settlement strength of newly settled lobsters in nursery grounds

2) To develop and test modified lobster traps as "prerecruit collectors" to estimate the abundance of lobsters one and two years prior to harvest

3) To standardize and implement sea-sampling and logbook programs for measuring local lobster catch and fishing effort

4) To determine if regional differences in settlement and prerecruit indices correlate with differences in catch


We will use collectors to determine settlement strength and prerecruit abundance as necessary data to predict future stock size and landings for the American lobster. Phase one builds, field-tests and calibrates collectors, establishing sampling methods and research sites in five regions from eastern Maine to Long Island Sound, and coordinates activities among researchers and local harvesters. Phase two quantifies settlement and prerecruit abundance and landings from harvesters' logbooks and sea-sampling. Correspondence between collector and landings data among regions tests the efficacy and potential of these predictive tools.


The lobster industry, the recent amendment (#5) to the Federal American Lobster Fisheries Management Plan (October 1993) and an international scientific workshop (1st International Lobster Congress) called for scientists to develop means to predict lobster landings and provide an early warning system to guard against stock collapse. The UM/UNH Sea Grant Program made this their top priority for core enhancement in the following statement: "The development of predictive capability of lobster catch in the northeast. A coordinated effort by lobster biologists in cooperation with havesters in the region to address a question of direct relevance to the management of our primary living marine resource."


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

Journal Article

  • Jury, S. and W. Watson, III (2000). Thermosensitivity of the lobster, "Homarus americanus," as determined by cardiac assay. Biological Bulletin 199:257-264.