Lobster Age-Size Relationships (Maine Department of Marine Resources)

Research on Lobster Age-Size Relationships:  Developing regionally specific growth models from meta-analysis of existing data

Participants: R. Wahle, Y. Chen (UMaine), P. Lawton (Dept. Fisheries & Oceans Canada)

Funding agency: Maine DMR

Funding Period: 2007-2009

Project Summary:
Understanding size-age relationships and their variability in the American lobster is critical to our ability to assess the impact of harvesting on yield and to forecast trends in future recruitment. The determination of age, however, is an especially challenging aspect of the study of crustacean populations.  The absence of conspicuous age markers in crustaceans makes it necessary to have a clear understanding of the age-to-body size relationship and the factors that contribute to its variability. In its call for proposals on Research, Education and Marketing, the Maine Department of Marine Resources has identified growth and ageing as a research priority.  This proposal describes a project wherein previous existing growth data on lobsters of various sizes and data-bases on juvenile lobster size structure from southern New England to the Bay of Fundy will be used to develop regional growth models to better estimate geographic variability in size at age and evaluate the role of thermal regime on the growth process.