Contacts: Kelly Whitmore, Robert P. Glenn

In January 2011, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries initiated a survey of all active commercial lobster permit holders in Massachusetts to collect information on lost or derelict lobster fishing gear, also known as “ghost” fishing gear.  A total of 884 surveys were sent to Massachusetts commercial lobstermen from Lobster Management Areas 1, 2, 3 and OCC.

This ongoing survey is being conducted as part of a long-term study of the magnitude and impacts of lost lobster gear through a research grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the NOAA Marine Debris Program.  The purpose of the survey is to describe lobster gear loss in Massachusetts, including the circumstances under which it occurs.  Information collected through the survey will be valuable in helping us to determine whether clean-up efforts and further collaborative research efforts are warranted.

Participation is voluntary and responses are strictly anonymous.  The response rate to the survey has been exceptionally high and we sincerely thank all who have contributed their time and knowledge.

Currently, the survey is still active and responses will continue to be collected until April 30, 2011.  If you are a current commercial lobster permit holder and did not receive the mail survey or need a replacement, please contact Kelly Whitmore at 978-282-0308 Ext. 102 and one will be mailed to you right away.

In the coming months, survey findings will be categorized and reported publicly via this webpage.  The page can be found by accessing the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries website and clicking on “Lobster Investigations ”.
Preliminary statistics on the survey response by Lobster Management Area are presented below.

As of March 7, 2011:

Percent of Surveys Returned by Lobster Management Area

Survey Materials:

Lobster Survey Materials