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How will the Trump administration affect our industry?

'Trump two for one rule under fire' -Cape Cod Times Feb 12, 2017 publication sums up fundamental issues NOAA faces under POTUS's two for one regulation rule. This is troubling for all fisheries and marine life. Lobster fishermen are already concerned for a suffering herring supply, the favored bait for lobster.

http://www.capecodtimes.com/news/20170212/trump-two-for-one-rule-under-fire


Additionally the industry will see impact regarding Chinese trade policies as well as climate change. As Chinese demand for Maine lobster flourishes Canada has begun to charter flights to Zhengzhou. As sea level and temperatures rise along the east coast and the Gulf of Main the lobster stock will shift north following the cold water temperatures. Waters south of Cape Cod Bay have already seen stocks plummet deeming the fishery unsustainable.

https://www.climate.gov/news-features/climate-and/climate-lobsters

New York State DEC Legalized the Sale of Oversized Lobsters Caught Legally in 2013

Concerning the sale of lobsters above New York's legal catch size the DEC made the following statement with the amendment to grade laws in 2013, parallel with the topic arising over the smaller grades being caught legally:

Although New York's lobster fishery has been depleted by environmental impacts, such as warming waters and low oxygen in the water, lobster continue to thrive elsewhere. The new legislation permits licensed dealers to purchase or sell properly-tagged oversized lobsters that have been legally landed, allowing seafood markets, grocery stores and restaurants to sell these "jumbo" lobsters. Lobsters landed in New York are still required to measure between three and three-eighths inches and five and one-quarter inches if they will be sold.
-Thursday, August 8, 2013

Click the link below to read the full article:
http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/92794.html

Lobster Trap Letter on New York State Lobster Measure

CAPE COD LOBSTER SUPPLIER SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT
Lobster Trap Wholesale Seafood Dealers Accepts Responsibility for
Short Length Lobsters Seized in NYS

(Cape Cod, MA) In response to the July 28, 2016 press release sent out by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) relative to their recent seizure of short length lobsters, The Lobster Trap, a Cape Cod-based lobster supplier to the Price Chopper Supermarket chain and other retailers, wishes to set the record straight and fill in gaps of information that help clarify the resulting misinterpretations and mischaracterizations.

“It was never our intention to send short length lobsters to any of our customers. The lobsters in question were of legal length (3 ¼” carapace) in 46 states in all and every country across the world - but not in New York, where the regulation calls for an additional 1/8”, or 3 3/8” measurement altogether,” said The Lobster Trap co-owner Logan Clarke. “It’s entirely our fault that some of our packers mixed 3 ¼” lobsters earmarked for other Northeastern states with the shipment bound for Price Chopper.”

“We’re shipping tens of thousands of lobsters daily. It’s important for people to understand that Price Chopper didn’t knowingly accept short length lobsters from us. We delivered them in error,” said Dave Madden, Lobster Trap’s other co-owner. “We find it truly unfortunate that our unintentional lack of oversight has put into question their fine reputation as a retailer with whom we have done business for nearly 30 years”, he added.

Recognizing that another instance of sending short length lobsters to retail customers in New York State, however unintentional, would entail additional citations, fines and loss of business, The Lobster Trap has already put into effect its’ decision to no longer house lobsters shorter than the 3 3/8in at its Cape Cod facility.

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30 Years at the Lobster Trap


Congratulations to Vice President and lead salesman, Dave Madden, on 30 years of hard work and dedication at the Lobster Trap! It wouldn't be all that it is today without his contribution as both a leader and a friend to all who have worked here.

Construction and expansion in Maine!

Our location in Steuben, Maine has rebuilt pound walls for increased capacity and has a brand new tank room in construction to hold 300,000 lbs of lobster!

pound wall

tank room

Measures in place for sustainability are working!

Maine lobster catch tops 100M pounds for 1st time
http://www.pressherald.com/news/Maine-lobster-catch-tops-100M-pounds.html

Clarke Canfield / The Associated Press

HALLOWELL — Maine lobstermen last year caught more than 100 million pounds of lobster, the first time the lobster catch has topped the 100 million-pound mark, the state's top fisheries official said today.

The preliminary catch numbers for 2011 illustrates just how strong the lobster resource remains, Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher told The Associated Press. The previous record of 94.7 million pounds, worth more than $313 million, was set in 2010.

"Based on the sheer number of juvenile lobsters we're seeing on the bottom, whether we'll continue at 100 million it's hard to say, but I think we'll continue to show strong landings for the next several years," he said.

David Cousens, a South Thomaston lobsterman and the longtime president of the Maine Lobstermen's Association, remembers when lobstermen were catching 20 million pounds a year. He never imaged the day when the catch would top 100 million pounds.

"Unreal," he said.

Although the lobster catch came in strong last year, lobstermen have been hurt by low prices they've gotten for their catch since 2008, when the global economy sank.

Lobstermen are struggling with high prices for diesel fuel, bait, rope and other equipment, Cousens said.

"Our expenses are through the roof and the price of lobster is $1.50 a pound cheaper than it was in 2006," he said.

Sustainability

For some time now sustainability has been a hot topic throughout the seafood industry. If you aren't familiar with the existing practices we've included some information on how the Canadian and US lobster industries govern this matter, research by the Lobster Institute of Maine.


The American lobster (Homarus americanus) fishery, in Canada and the United States, provides this assurance: that it adheres to a comprehensive Sustainability Code of Conduct – doing its part to ensure a healthy, sustainable resource and a vital fishery.


Lobster fishing is more than a way to make a living, it is a way of life. It has been intricately woven into the heritage of North Atlantic coastal communities for generations, and those who fish for lobsters are committed to securing the lobster resource for generations to come.


Responsible harvesting of lobster has been a cornerstone of the fishery’s conservation efforts for over 137 years. The first U.S. and Canadian laws banning the taking of egg-bearing females were instituted in the early1870s…a conservation measure already practiced by many lobstermen at the time; and the first law regulating the minimum legal size of a lobster that could be landed was established shortly thereafter.
Given the ecological differences in various fishing areas, there is no simple management solution appropriate for every region, state, or country. When it comes to regulations, there is no “one size fits all”. However, there are recognized standards, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries; and legislated conservation practices based on these standards that exemplify the lobster fishery’s commitment to sustaining the lobster resource. The practices of lobstermen/women as part of today’s Conservation Code of Conduct are listed on the following pages by country.

U.S. Lobster Fishery Conservation Code of Conduct
Each licensed commercial lobsterman/woman is required to conduct their fishing practices as follows:
Abide by the federal Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act – designed based on the “best available” science and outlined by the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Lobster through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

Abide by their state’s “V-Notch” system to protect females capable of bearing eggs (since 1872). When a berried lobster (one that is carrying eggs) is found in a trap, a “V” is notched in one of its tail fins and it is released back into the ocean. Whenever a lobster with a “V-Notch” is found in a trap it is to be released, thus protecting the brood stock.

Abide by their state’s regulations governing the minimum size a lobster must be before it is legal to land that lobster (since 1874). This is designed to allow lobsters to become of age to be capable of at least one reproduction cycle before it can be legally landed.

Abide by their state’s regulations governing the maximum size a lobster can be to be consider legal for landing. The larger, or “oversized” lobsters have a greater capacity for breeding and reproduction, thus protecting natural restocking of the resource.

Abide by their state’s regulations governing trap/trap tag limits per licensed lobsterman/woman, thus governing fishing effort. Use traps with “escape vents” that allow sub-legal sized lobsters that come into traps an easier way to get out. Use traps with a biodegradable “ghost panel”. These panels are attached with biodegradable fasteners (hog rings) that dissolve over time if a trap is lost on the bottom, thus allowing lobsters to escape and providing a large opening so that the trap does not continue to fish.

Abide by limited entry and apprentice program in licensing of lobster fishermen/women, thus governing effort.

Reduced or restricted lobster harvesting methods that may prove harmful to the environment (i.e. dragging).

Active participation in co-management initiatives for the fishery, including representation on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Lobster Management Board and Lobster Conservation Management Teams as well as various councils and commissions at the state level.



Canadian Lobster Fishery Conservation Code of Conduct

Each licensed commercial lobsterman/woman is required to conduct their fishing practices as follows:
Abide by management plans put in place by Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Recognize the division of the coastal area into 41 fishing districts – Lobster Fishing Areas (LFAs).

Abide by their Areas prohibition against landing egg-bearing females (since the early 1870s), thus protecting the brood stock.

Abide by their Area’s minimum size limits a lobster must be before it is considered legal to land (first implemented in the late 1800s then re-introduced in the 1930s and 1940s). This is designed to allow lobsters to become of age to be capable of at least one reproduction cycle before it can be legally landed.

Abide by their Area’s lath or mesh spacing requirements in traps to permit escape of small lobsters (trap selectivity first tried in the late 1940s, but effective implementation did not occur until the mid to late 1990s).

Abide by regulations requiring escape mechanisms on traps to reduce the retention of undersized lobsters, as well as biodegradable panels and rings to ensure that traps lost-at-sea do not continue to catch lobster and other species.

Abide by limited entry in licensing of harvesters (limited entry in the 1960s), thus governing fishing effort.

Fish only with traps – no dragging, which could prove harmful to habitat and breeding grounds.

Abide by their Area’s limitation of the number of traps (1960s), thus governing fishing effort.

Recognize fishing seasons (since the early 1970s) determined by region and LFA.



References:
Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act. http://www.asmfc.org/legislation/ACFCMA.pdf
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Lobster http://www.asmfc.org/americanLobster.htm
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/005/v9878e/v9878e00.pdf

Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada
http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/sustainable-durable/lobster-homard-eng.htm
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/005/v9878e/v9878e00.pdf
Fisheries Resource Conservation Council. 2007. Sustainability Framework for Atlantic Lobster 2007: Report to the minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada

Spotted Lobster: CapeCast: Meet a Rare Spotted Lobster!

Blue Lobster: CapeCast: Meet a Rare Blue Lobster!

Technicolor Lobsters: Rare Green and Yellow Lobsters!