|The 2015 American Lobster Benchmark Stock Assessment and Peer Review Report, published recently by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, shows record high lobster populations in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank indicating that the stock is not overfished despite a five-fold increase in landings since the late 1970s. “Up until the late 1970s, landings were relatively constant at about 30.87 million pounds,” the reportstated. “However by 2000, landings almost tripled to roughly 86 million pounds and by 2006 grew to 92.61 million pounds. Landings in 2013 were roughly 149.94 million pounds.”
The Gulf of Maine stock accounts for more than 90% of American lobster landings in the United States and is primarily an inshore fishery, according to the report, while the Georges Bank is predominantly an offshore fishery and has represented an average of 5% of U.S. total landings since 1981.
“Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank stock abundance has increased since 1979 and at an accelerated pace since 2007,” the report concluded. “Recruitment and spawning stock abundance have remained high between 2008 and 2013. Current stock abundance is at all-time highs.”