Lobster stock ‘indicators’ provide preview

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Scientists conducting the 2014 “benchmark” stock assessment for American lobsters have given the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) a “preview” of the general condition of the resource based on a set of telltale stock “indicators.”

The assessment itself, which involves computer models and a thorough analysis of landings, survey, biological, environmental, and catch data, won’t be completed until early winter and then must go out for peer review.  The final results will be presented to ASMFC’s American Lobster Management Board in May 2015.

But during the board’s Aug. 5 meeting here, Bob Glenn of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF), who is the new chair of ASMFC’s American Lobster Technical Committee (TC) and chairman of the TC’s American Lobster Stock Assessment Subcommittee (SAS), told the board that the SAS took an early look at survey and landing trends and indicators in order to provide a “thumbnail sketch” of stock conditions.

The SAS used the popular “traffic light” approach to describe how things were looking:  “green” being good; “yellow” being cautionary; and “red” being bad.

Based on the indicators – and far from being the last word pending the results of the full assessment – the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank lobster stocks appear to be in “good” condition, but the Southern New England stock remains in “poor” shape.


Read the rest and much, much more in the September issue of Commercial Fisheries News.

Read online immediately and download for future reference.