Date of Award

Fall 2012

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Winsor H Watson, III


The American lobster, Homarus americanus, is the most valuable marine resource in New England and, as with any fishery, effective management depends on accurate stock assessment. The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of standard and ventless traps, focusing on determining which trap provides a better index of lobster abundance. While ventless traps caught approximately five times as many lobsters as standard traps, the size of captured lobsters did not differ significantly between trap types. Ventless traps saturated after 16 - 24 hours, but standard traps did not saturate at all. Despite saturating at all densities, ventless traps yielded higher catch at higher densities, so their maximum catch correlated with lobster abundance. Time-lapse videos suggest that ventless traps saturate due to a reduction in entries since there are fewer surrounding lobsters. This study indicates that ventless traps provide more useful information about lobster populations than standard traps.