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Document Type

Article

Abstract

Lobster fishing is one of Maine’s most famous and important industries. In order for the industry to thrive, it is necessary that the lobster stock continue to be bountiful. One way to achieve a bountiful stock of lobster is to place limits on the amount of lobster that can be fished in any given year. The legal world offers a number of ways to achieve this end. Some mechanisms that have been employed in various jurisdictions include minimum and maximum legal sizes, v-notching, and trap limits. Although these laws can be very effective in reducing the number of lobsters caught and therefore increasing the number of lobster in the ocean, they may paint with too broad a brush. More selective laws that are crafted based on lobster biology could lead to an increased lobster stock while also allowing for a large, profitable harvest from year to year. Through insights gained by a survey of selected laws governing lobster fishing from Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Canada, and a review of the biology of the American lobster, this article suggests new laws and a new approach to drafting the law, both aimed at increasing the stock of Maine lobster and maintaining large harvests.

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