(U.S. Gulf of Maine, U.S. Georges Bank, Trap, Pot)
American lobsters from the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank are "Good Alternatives," but "Avoid" lobster from Southern New England.
The Maine lobster trap fishery is certified as sustainable to the standard of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) .
American lobster can come from throughout the Northeastern U.S. and Canada, but is also marketed as "Maine lobster."
American lobster, also known as Maine lobster, is found from Newfoundland, Canada to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. There are three U.S. fisheries - Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank and Southern New England. The vast majority of lobster is trap-caught, with a small fraction from trawl fisheries.
American lobster is a long-lived species - up to 100 years - and slow to mature; traits that make it vulnerable to overfishing. However, stock assessments show that northern lobster populations have been increasing steadily for the last twenty years. The Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank fisheries - which account for approximately 97% of all U.S. American lobster landings - are considered well managed, with healthy and abundant populations. The Southern New England lobster population, however, has been in a decline since the late 1990's and remained at depleted levels since then.
Bycatch is not often an issue in trap fisheries, however, this fishery is classified a Category I (high risk) by the National Marine Fisheries Service due to the risk to North Atlantic right whales - one of the most critically endangered whales in the world. Though the fishery is complying with all the regulations, whales continue to become entangled in lobster fishing gear, in large part because of the sheer volume of gear in the water.