With US lobster landings looking like they may be either stabilizing or slipping off their 2016 all-time high, and Canadian landings surging ahead, many in the industry and management on both sides of the border are wondering how the landscape may change for the future of North America’s most valuable fishery. Even as 2018 landings are still being tallied in some sectors, Maine reported a 7% uptick from its 16% downturn in 2017. Canadian harvests on the other hand have been booming, with Gulf of St. Lawrence fisheries reporting double-digit increases over the past few years. Widespread declines in settlement in the Gulf of Maine over the past few years have raised concerns over the future of this region’s fishery. But mixed signals about the strength of upcoming year classes have left some uncertainty about what these declines mean for future recruitment there. While the ALSI suggests some weak year classes coming down the line, Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) trawl and ventless trap surveys show especially large numbers of sublegal lobsters in deep waters. On the other hand, large settlement increases and rising landings in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence leave little doubt about the prospect of a bright future there. In this Update we take a closer look at 2018 and how we evaluate the forecasting value of the ALSI time series.
Wahle, Richard PhD and Oppenheim, Noah, "American Lobster Settlement Index, Update 2018" (2018). Publications. 332.
Casco Bay, Gulf of Maine, New England