Examination of the efficacy of a novel bait for American Lobster

Funding source: Omega Protein, Inc.


Deborah A. Bouchard, University of Maine and Aquaculture Research Institute

Richard A. Wahle, University of Maine, School of Marine Sciences

Robert Harrington, Aquaculture Research Institute

Kristyn Kleman, University of Maine, School of Marine Sciences

Industry Partners:

Omega Protein, Inc.

Currently, there is a bait shortage in the Gulf of Maine. This decline is prompting lobstermen to find different sources for their traps.  Omega Protein, Inc. has formulated a bait product intended to be used by lobster fisherman in coastal waters instead of traditional baits such as herring.  Three artificial baits were compared in a laboratory setting to test for palatability among lobsters. Structural integrity when immersed in saltwater was also measured. Of these three baits, a modification of the best performing one, will be used in field experiments to compare how the artificial bait does in comparison to typical baits, herring and pogy, at catching lobsters. An additional longevity experiment is underway to see how long the artificial bait lasts in the field. Results of this study could lead to transitions in bait typically used by lobstermen, making the fishery more sustainable.

Figure: Bait consumption after a 24-hour period. With image “A” being little to no feeding occurring, Image “B” partial feeding occurring and Image “C” all or most of bait consumed.