RRF project in the news: New sensors track lobsters from trap to dealer

Andrew Goode, PhD student in the Marine Sciences program, has received recognition in Landings, a newsletter by the Maine Lobstermen’s Community Alliance.

Damian Brady is the Principal Investigator of this project, which was funded by the 2019 RRF Student Award.

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“Just take the lower percentage,” said Andrew Goode, a Ph.D. student at the School of Marine Sciences at the University of Maine. “Three percent of the 2018 catch [$484,543,000 value] means $14 million is lost between the trap and the dealer. If we can track the lobsters, we can identify what factors influence shrinkage. We can make more money when we treat them better.”

Goode, who also lobsters in the Damariscotta River area, is one of the participants in a new project, a collaboration among the University of Maine Lobster Institute, the Maine Lobster Dealers Association, Bates College, and the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. The project will use temperature and motion sensors designed by Matthew Jadud, Bates associate professor of digital and computational studies, and Phil Dostie, Environmental Geochemistry Lab manager, to monitor the conditions experienced by lobsters in the trap, on the boat, in the crate and on the truck.

“We want to identify the stress points in the supply chain and look at how wharves and lobstermen differ in how they handle lobsters,” explained Rick Wahle, executive director of the Lobster Institute. Funding for the first year of the project, which begins this month, comes from the University’s Research Reinvestment Fund; the second year will be supported by the Maine Lobster Dealers Association.