Environmental Impacts of Lobster Pounds: Monitoring Impacts, Modeling Holding Capacity, and Assessing Policy.

PI: Michael Tlusty, New England Aquarium

Project Number:2001-RC-79

Start Date:2001-03-01End Date:2003-02-28

Proposal Summary

Objectives: Determine annual and long-term organic matter accumulation in lobster pounds.
Determine lobster digestive efficiency at low temperatures.
Assess accumulation of antibiotics in sediments of lobster pounds.
Model the loading of organic matter and fate of wastes in lobster pounds to determine holding capacity of lobster pounds.
Review application process for new lobster pounds.
Meet with pound owners/regulators to determine needs and concerns.
Recommend guidelines for ownership of submerged lands, procedure for transferring ownership of existing pounds, and issuing permits for construction of new pounds.

Methodology: Organic matter will be determined by measuring the % sample that is lost on ignition at 500 degrees C.
Samples will be taken by using soil auger to collect cores from the bottom of the lobster pounds.
Nematodes and macrofauna are measure by visually sorting a sample, and occasionally sieving, and then identifying them. They are preserved in formalin.
Lobster digestive efficiency will be measured by feeding them food of known organic matter content and measuring organic matter content in feces.
The maximum organic matter loading will be determined by comparing the rate of input to the rate of clearance.
The holding capacity of lobster pounds will be based on the bottom area of the pound, and will be the maximum biomass of lobsters that does not exceed the determined organic matter loading.
Regulations and licensing issues will be modified after reviewing the current, and discussion needs and concerns with the associated user groups.

Rationale: The lobster fishery is the most important fishery on the Atlantic coast of the U.S. and Canada. Pounds are critical to this industry as they hold lobster when fishing is unproductive or unsafe. Currently, there are no requirements for monitoring environmental impacts associated with the operation of lobster pounds. Thus there is a need to determine what impacts lobster pounds have on the environmental. This information will be used to recommend a licensing procedure for new pounds and issues of ownership of submerged lands.

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