Ask the Lobster Doc: Looking lobster landings in the eye


From my vantage point, there is a lot more – and less – to lobster landings than meets the eye.

In some ways, like the economics way, there’s more to landings than meet the eye.

However, in the science way, landings have next to nothing to reveal.

I’ll try to explain.

Landings data consist of:

•  The number of pounds of lobsters brought into a place on shore where the lobster boat lands; and

•  The amount of money paid for the catch.

In essence, a lobster boat “lands” at a wharf to sell lobsters, a dealer pays the lobsterman.

The records of this transaction become landings and ex-vessel value of landed lobsters.

That’s all.  Period.  End of story.  End of what landings tell you.

How many pounds were landed at a certain location and price paid for those pounds.  That’s all.

So why am I bothering to jot down more words on paper?

Because I need the newsprint to fire up my wood stove. Just kidding.

There’s a great deal more to say.  Because landings data are so often misused, misunderstood, and misrepresented that they become mistaken for science data.

They are not.

I have grown so weary of trying to explain that lobster landings are not a measure of abundance that I could scream.

After all, it seems to me that the loudest, foulest voice is often the one that is heard.

And, yet, here I sit calmly writing in the name of logic and reason trying to find an analogy, a story, make a graph, present a table to figure out some way to dispel the spell of landings.

Lobster landings are incapable of…

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