R-12-03 Maximizing the utility and impact of the American Lobster Settlement Index database

Richard A. Wahle
Research Associate Professor
School of Marine Sciences
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469

Charlene Bergeron
School of Marine Sciences
University of Maine

Christine M. Tilburg
Ecosystem Indicator Partnership, Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment

Maine is perilously dependent on a single large fishery: the American lobster. This fisheries’ collapse would be catastrophic to the state’s economy. For more than 20 years, the American Lobster Settlement Index has monitored lobster nurseries in New England and Atlantic Canada. The resulting long-term dataset for the fishery has allowed scientists to measure change in fish populations and their ecosystems.

Now, Wahle and his colleagues are conducting the first comprehensive analysis of the database. Evaluating the functional relationship between young-of-year lobsters and older lobsters, and then following these cohorts through time, will assess the forecasting power of the Lobster Settlement Index to predict trends in juvenile and adult lobster populations. As part of this project, the investigators are partnering with the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program to centralize and automate data submission and reporting, and with the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment’s EcoSystem Indicator Program to develop interactive reporting tools.

Download the 2015 American Lobster Settlement Index Fact Sheet (4.6 MB).

Two-year project; total Sea Grant funds $126,416