Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Maine Lobster Facts

The Maine lobster, also known as American lobster, is one of North America's most popular seafood delicacies. This delicious crustacean is caught in Canada as well as the United States.

The following are a few Maine lobster facts:

Although it is often called "Maine lobster", the species occurs in American waters from Maine through North Carolina.

Maine lobsters are solitary and territorial by nature, often laying claim to a burrow or crevice for protection. Although they move within their habitat, adult lobsters usually remain within a home range of about 5-10 square km. Large adults often live in deep ocean water but make seasonal migrations inshore to reproduce.

Maine lobsters molt 10 times in their first year, reaching lengths of 1 -1.5 inches. Lobsters can grow back new claws, legs and antennae. A lobster that has lost 1 claw is called a cull. One that has lost 2 claws is called a bullet.

The largest known Maine lobster weighed a whopping 44 pounds. Scientists have not discovered an accurate method for measuring the exact age of Maine lobsters. Based on growth estimates, biologists believe that some lobsters live for nearly 100 years.

The American (Maine) lobster fishery, with an ex-vessel value of nearly $400 million in 2010, ranks as one of the most value Atlantic coast fisheries. Maine's lobster landings make up almost 80% of the value of the U.S. fishery.

The vast majority of Maine lobsters are caught in lobster pots. A small percentage of overall landings are caught by trawling. SCUBA divers sometimes catch Maine lobsters by hand.

In the USA, Maine lobsters are managed regionally by the ASMFC American Lobster Management Board. The board regulates three distinct stocks, including Gulf of Maine (GOM), Georges Bank (GBK), and Southern New England (SNE).

Friday, April 6, 2012

NOAA Seafood Marketing Studies

Two new NOAA Sea Grant studies will look at how new business models, based on the success of community supported agriculture, could benefit fishing communities in Washington, Oregon, and California.

Barbara Walker, Ph.D., a cultural geographer at the University of California, Santa Barbara, will lead a study of community-supported fisheries and other direct-marketing programs in Washington, as well as North Carolina and South Carolina. The emphasis will be on helping fishermen learn about direct marketing and identify approaches that might be appropriate for the local fisheries and consumer base.

A second Sea Grant-funded project looks at developing higher-value product lines, for example, by delivering fish live, or by smoking, freezing, or otherwise processing product. Ana Pitchon, Ph.D., an assistant professor of anthropology at California State University, Dominguez Hills in Los Angeles County, and James Hilger, a fisheries resource economist at NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center in San Diego, will explore what can be done to add value to fish and shellfish landed locally, using four fisheries as case studies; Pacific sardine, Dungeness crab, near-shore live finfish, and spot prawn.

The four West Coast Sea Grant programs selected these two projects, totaling $500,000, through an independent peer-review process. NOAA provided funding through its National Sea Grant College Program.

source: NOAA FishNews