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The American lobster is distributed from Cape Hatteras in North Carolina to Newfoundland to the Strait of Belle Isle that separates Labrador and Newfoundland. It inhabits areas from the water line out to the edge of the continental shelf.
The American lobster is among the largest of all marine crustaceans, sometimes growing to lengths of 60cm and weighing over 18kg. It is also considered the longest-living crustacean, capable of reaching ages up to 50 years.
Lobster fishing is an important industry for the 11,000 inhabitants of the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, off the east coast of Canada. There are 325 registered vessels harvesting lobster in the fishery. In total, the primary and secondary lobster processing sectors provide employment to around 10% of the islands’ population.
Lobster are caught in baited traps. These are set by lines (strings) with a minimum of 7 traps per line, a maximum 8 fathoms (14m) between each trap and 56 fathoms (102m) from the first to the last trap. The lines must carry buoys marked with the fishing vessel registration number. The lobster fishing season in the area is restricted to the months of May and June.
Atlantic Lobster (Homarus americanus) image © Scandinavian Fishing Year Book