Jackson Estuarine Laboratory


Use of ultrasonic telemetry to determine the area of bait influence and trapping area of American lobster, Homarus americanus, traps


Using ultrasonic telemetry, we measured the distance of attraction to a baited trap and then used this value to calculate the “area of bait influence”. This value, along with the mean daily home range for the same animals, was used to calculate the “trapping area” of an individual trap. Lobsters (n = 25) were tracked inside a large underwater mesocosm containing a single baited lobster trap. During the study, 14 of the 25 lobsters approached the trap from a mean (+SEM) distance of 11.0 ± 0.7 m. Using this distance as the radius of a circle, the resulting circular area of bait influence was 380 m2. The movements of 18 lobsters were used to calculate a mean daily home range of 1002.4 ± 195.7 m2. The radius of a circle with this area (17.8 m) was then combined with the mean distance of bait attraction to calculate the trapping area, defined as: the total area from which the catch is drawn (2604.0 m2; a circle with a radius of 28.8 m or 17.8 m + 11.0 m). A demonstration of the potential use of empirical data about lobster home ranges, trap dynamics and area of bait influence to improve our understanding of the relationship between the density of lobsters on the bottom and catch is included.


Jackson Estuarine Laboratory, Biological Sciences

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New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research


Taylor & Francis

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© The Royal Society of New Zealand 2009