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UMaine hosts first “Successful Research Partnerships in the Lobster Industry” webinar

Oct. 6, the University of Maine hosted the first of a series of webinars focusing on collaborative research efforts in the lobster industry between Maine Sea Grant, the Maine Department of Marine Resources and the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute. The Maine Sea Grant website explains that the series focuses on collaboration when it comes to learning about the various factors that are affected by climate change in the lobster industry.

Presenters Kathleen Reardon, Matt Davos and Joe Locurto Jr. spoke about the Maine DMR lobster sampling programs, emphasizing the importance of maintaining research collaborations with the Maine lobster industry. 

“It’s important to check in with the guys out on the water everyday. Having that feedback and going back and forth, and getting push back is really important,” said Reardon, a senior lobster fishery biologist at the DMR. 

Collaboration between scientists and lobstermen is vital in order to sustain the lobster industry. This includes watching for trends across all stages in the life cycle of the lobster. In the DMR Lobster Monitor Program, scientists look at the lobsters from the stages of larvae, young of year, sublegals, adults and reproduction. In the larval stage, scientists have been performing the Boothbay Harbor Larval Survey. The Maine DMR’s objectives focus on the larvae stages of lobsters and the seasonal changes they undergo.

Part of the Settlement Survey for the young of year stage of lobster allows for researchers to board the ships of lobstermen to track where the lobsters are for the future sustainability of this resource. 

“We’re collecting so much data through these surveys … We stratify our locations based on depth and location … And so you want to make sure when you’re talking to these captains, you want to make sure that that site does not move between months, you want it in the same spot because you want to compare how that location looks across time,” said Davos, the sea sampling and VTS coordinator at the Maine DMR. “Taking the time to explain why is it we do what we do is such an important part of our job. I still am learning new things all the time and so I think just as important as teaching others has been making sure to listen. A lot. Especially to industry members because they are the ones who are on the water just about every day.”

The sustainability and upkeep of the lobster industry is extremely important, as it affects the lives of the fishermen and their families who depend on this resource. By thinking of the future and the long-term preservation of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem, this will help the community and lobster industry thrive for years to come.

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