Can We Stop the Atlantic Lobster Fishery Going the Way of Newfoundland's Atlantic Cod? A Perspective
Corkett, Christopher J.
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The cod and lobster fisheries of Atlantic Canada are managed in very different ways. Regulatory policy for Atlantic cod has traditionally been based on population or biomass measurements, something that has never been done for the management of Atlantic Canada’s lobster. While these traditional methods differ, an alternate logical or analytic approach to management is perhaps one way that sound and rational fisheries can be managed. The recommendations that follow derive from asking: can we learn analytic lessons from the collapse of Atlantic cod that might allow us to avoid a similar collapse in Atlantic lobster? A landings-per-unit-of-effort (LPUE) index could be constructed for the lobster industry that would provide a continuous trend over time. This trend would form an effective feedback model; a declining trend over time would indicate the goal of sustainability was in jeopardy, whereas a level or increasing trend over time would indicate that the industry was maintaining its sustainability. Crucially, an LPUE index should only be used as an argument a posterior involving feedback in the form of trends. This index should never be used as an argument a priori to estimate lobster abundance or lobster biomass.