Maine’s lobstermen learned early that unregulated fishing could destroy their livelihood. They began protecting the resource for future generations as early as 1872, when the first law was passed protecting egg-bearing females.
Today, the state’s lobster fishery is a prime example of successful self-regulation. Although the overall catch isn’t limited and the season runs all year, many rules keep the harvest sustainable.
Here are a few:
Maine sets a statewide trap limit, and individual lobstering zones have their own trap limits.
New harvesters have to apprentice with veterans to learn the regulated sustainable practices, and only a limited number of new licenses are issued annually.
Harvesting in Maine is by traps only—no diving or dragging allowed. Traps must have escape hatches for small lobsters and a biodegradable hatch in case the trap is lost.
The Maine Lobster Seed Fund, supported by license fees, purchases and returns to the sea those females that extrude eggs after landing.