Regulations for Lobster Fishing in Maine

Regulations for Lobster Fishing in MaineGreen buoys, blue ocean, red lobsters: lobster fishing is the primary outdoor experience in Maine. That is, if you're a resident. While lobster fishing used to be a solely commercial industry in Maine, noncommercial lobster fishing licenses are now available to state residents under the following regulations.

Fishing Regulations

A license holder may set up to five lobster traps at any one time in Maine coastal waters.

Buoys and traps must both clearly display the license holder's lobster license number.

Buoy color/design must be clearly featured on both sides of the fishing boat.

A license holder may not set, raise, lift, or transfer a trap not marked with the fisherman's own license number.

A license holder must use conventional lobster traps.

A license holder must not fish at night or on Sundays during the summer season. Specifically, he must not fish from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise each day or from 4:00 p.m. Saturday to 1/2 hour before sunrise on the following Monday morning. The summer season begins June 1st and ends October 31st.


Legal Lobsters

A legal lobster is between 3 8/32 inches and 5 inches long from the bottom of the eye socket to the rear end of the body shell. Lobsters not within these measurements should immediately be thrown back into the water alive. Release these lobsters to avoid a $50 violation fee plus $25 for each of the first five illegal lobsters and $50 for each additional lobster.

It's also illegal to take lobsters that have eggs under the tail or are marked with a V-notch on the right flipper, signifying that the lobster is female. If the lobster is damaged so that you can't to tell whether or not it has been V-notched, it's illegal to take the lobster. Return egg-bearing or V-notched lobsters alive to the water immediately to avoid a $50 violation fee plus $100 for each illegal lobster.

Gear Regulation

All lobster traps must have both escape vents and a biodegradable escape panel.

Buoys lines must be less than 7/17 inch in diameter and either attached to the buoy line with a weak link or made of sinking/neutrally buoyant line.

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