Sustainability

The harvesters in Lobster Fishing Area 27 have distinguished themselves for their conservation efforts and sustainable practices at sea

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Minimum size increases

Before 1997, the Minimum Legal Size was 70 mm Carapace Length. Since then, LFA27 lobster harvesters voted for 3 size increases and now fish a minimum size of 82.5mm.

Since 50% of lobsters in this area are mature at about 74mm, lobster in this area have a good chance of reproducing at least once before they are caught.

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Lobster Quality and Handling Workshops

Fish harvesters have had many opportunities to attend lobster quality and handling workshops focused on how to land, release and hold lobster for optimum quality and sustainability.

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Science and monitoring

LFA27 lobster harvesters manage their own research programme which monitors the health and sustainability of the lobster stock and which seeks to innovate the industry to improve its sustainability and its quality product.

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Seasonality

The fishing season runs from Mid-May to Mid-July ensuring a high quality, hard shelled, delicious and sustainable lobster.

The protein sampling and molt staging monitors quality and lets us keep track of how our stock is doing for health and reproductive stage over the season.

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Social & Community Sustainability

The lobster fishery in Atlantic Canada falls under Canada's Owner-Operator Policy: the owner of the fishing license must operate the boat. With 500 license holders in LFA27, we are vital to the economy of this area and that is most obvious, though not exclusive, to our rural areas.

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Trap Limits

Each fish harvester fishes 275 traps and some ports have voluntarily reduced their trap limit to 250.

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Trap design

Rules govern the size, design and type of trap. Within legislation our harvesters can choose between many types and designs of traps including a choice between wire or wooden traps

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Escape mechanisms

These allow undersized lobsters to move freely in and out of the traps. This minimizes the amount that harvesters need to handle undersized lobsters which can be stressful on the animal and take time away from fishers.

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Biodegradable

Some components of the trap will disintegrate over time. This way, if a trap is lost at sea parts of it will break down and let lobsters and unintended species out of the trap. In this way biodegradable hog rings prevent “ghost” fishing by opening up escape hatches in the lost trap.

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Protection of egg-bearing females

All egg-bearing females are returned to the water at all times. During our At-Sea Sampling, we record the stage of the pregnant lobster (called a berried female because the eggs look like black berries!) to determine when lobster larvae enters our waters and the condition of mom at the time.