Catching lobsters commercially to sell and make money has been there for a long time. However, besides catching lobsters for selling, lobstering has also increasingly become a recreational activity for many people. People like to hunt for lobsters for fun and plan trips with their family and friends to do so. However, before going for lobstering, you should be aware of some of the facts regarding this activity. In this article, we will be discussing some of these factors.
How is lobstering regularized in Maine?
The Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) is an authorized body under the State of Maine that regulates the rules to conserve and sustain the aquatic resources of the state’s coast. They are in charge of maintaining, administering, and implementing all the laws. The department also helps in the promotion and development of the lobstering and fishing industry of Maine. And, as people have started catching lobster for recreational purposes, the Maine Department of Marine Resources had to come up with laws to restrict the excessive hunt for these aquatic creatures.
As recreational lobstering increased, the DMR has passed laws that are equally applicable to non-commercial lobstering as they are to the commercial. These laws include having to have a valid license to catch a lobster in the State’s coastal areas.
Moreover, you are also required to undergo a test prior to receiving your license for lobstering. As recreational lobstering was becoming increasingly popular in the late 1990s and the early 2000s, the Lobster Advisory Council proposed the idea of having training sessions for people who want to lobster for non-commercial reasons.
What are the activities permitted under the non-commercial licensing?
The non-commercial or the recreational based license that the Maine Department of Marine Resources issues is different from that of the commercial harvester. There are some activities and conditions that are set for this type of license. These conditions include the following:
- You have to be a resident of the State of Maine to have a lobster harvesting license.
- You can retain and transport any of the lobsters or crabs that you have caught.
- You are not authorized to sell your catch of lobsters or crabs.
- You can only immerse at most 5 lobster traps at a time on Maine’s coast.
- Only 10 trap tags at max will be issued to each vessel.
- The minimum age to apply for a lobstering license is 8 years.
- Only the licensed person is allowed to catch a lobster, not the person accompanying the licensed individual.
The above are the conditions that are applicable to non-commercial licenses. You must also be extra cautious about not letting the non-license holders assist you in the activity of lobstering. This is because even activities like handling lobster traps, measuring the lobster, and baiting are not permitted to non-license holders.
What are the different methods of lobstering?
There are various ways of lobstering. However, you have to note that in the State of Maine, all sorts of lobster hunting methods, apart from the conventional lobster traps, are illegal. Moreover, you can only catch a lobster using a vessel. All the other kinds of platforms, including a dock, are unlawful.
Plus, you also need to be careful while choosing the color of your buoy. The color that you are using should not match that of the other harvesters. You also need to make sure that your buoy has your license number clearly marked on it. Even the traps that you are using must be marked with your license number and should also be visible.
What is the legal length of lobster that you can catch in the State of Maine?
The authorized length for the lobster’s body shell is between 3.25 inches to 5 inches. This measurement is taken from the rear side of the lobster’s eye socket to the end of the body shell. You need to properly measure this length using a specific double-sided measurement that is available in any of the State’s fishing stores. You have to be particular about these measurements so that you do not go above and beyond the authorized lengths.
Is there any penalty for violating the permitted length?
If you catch a lobster below or above the legal measurement, there is a penalty of $500. Plus, you will also be charged $100, for each of the first 5 lobster you caught. And, for each lobster above the 5, you will be charged a penalty of $200. However, a fine of more than $5000 can be charged (based on estimation) if the authorities are not sure about the quantity of the lobsters.
However, if the lobster that is not according to the permitted length is put back in the coastal water as soon as they are measured, you will not be penalized. You must also note that any kind of mutilation of the lobster to make the measurement inaccurate is prohibited.
Is it legal to catch an egg-bearing lobster?
It is illegal to catch any egg-bearing lobster. Therefore, you need to check and be sure whether the female lobster that you caught is bearing eggs or not. The eggs are attached under the tail of the lobster. Moreover, it is also illegal to remove the eggs while they are hatching. You need to check carefully, as the penalty for possessing an egg-bearing lobster is the double of violating the permitted length.
In Maine, people have become increasingly enthusiastic about lobstering. Therefore, the State authorities had to regularize the guidelines regarding lobstering. The Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) works hard to maintain a safe and sustainable coastal area, along with promoting the lobster industry itself. The strict regulations have made it possible for the State authorities to claim the sustainability of the lobster industry and the aquatic ecosystem for a long time.
Owing to the efficient Maine Department of Marine Resources, you can now enjoy lobstering with your family and friends within the legal boundaries for years to come.