Lobster Regulations

Federal & New Jersey Lobster Rules –

* * * Rules are Changing May 1, 2006  * * *

 

What all this means is:  As of May 1, 2006, the minimum carapace length will be 3 3/8 inches for all lobster.  Divers bag limit is still 6 lobsters per person in a 24-hour period.  Divers cannot take more than “one female American lobster per fishing trip in excess of the maximum carapace length” of 5 ¼ inches from a point approximately 4 ½ miles north of Barnegat Inlet and 5 ½ inches south of this point.  This “trophy rule” applies only to female lobster not male.
(Note: The demarcation line between Area 4 and 5 is 39 Degrees and 50 minutes North (just north of Barnegat Inlet) and extends from 73 degrees 01 West to 74 degrees 09 West.

  • The legal possession size of whole lobsters is measured from the rear of the eye socket along a line parallel to the centerline of the body shell to the rear of the body shell. 

  • The possession limit is 6 lobsters per person per day.

  • Lobster parts may not be processed at sea or landed.       
    Lobsters taken recreationally may not be sold or offered for sale.

  • No person shall possess any lobster with eggs attached or from which eggs have been removed or any female lobster with a v-notched tail. 

  • The use of spears, gigs, gaffs or other penetrating devices as a method of capture for lobsters is prohibited.

  • A license is required for the use of pots or traps for the capture of lobsters.

Effective May 1, 2006 Federal Rules for Maximum Carapace Length Limits

Federal Lobster Rules –

Excerpts from:

50 CFR PART 697— ATLANTIC COASTAL FISHERIES COOPERATIVE MANAGEMENT

§ 697.20 Size, harvesting and landing requirements.

(b) Maximum carapace length.

(3) The maximum carapace length for all female American lobster harvested in or from the EEZ Nearshore Management Area 4 is 5 14 inches (13.34 cm), except as provided in paragraph (b)(7) of this section.

(5) The maximum carapace length for all female American lobster harvested in or from the EEZ Nearshore Management Area 5 is 5 12 inches (13.97 cm), except as provided in paragraph (b)(7) of this section.

(7)  In the EEZ Nearshore Management Area 4 and the EEZ Nearshore Management Area 5, recreational fishing vessels and divers engaged in recreational fishing, regardless of the platform from which they dive, are allowed to possess one female American lobster per fishing trip in excess of the maximum carapace length specified in paragraphs (b)(3) through (b)(6) of this section. 
 

New Jersey Lobster Rules –

Excerpts from the New Jersey Administrative Code Title 7  

SUBCHAPTER 14. CRAB AND LOBSTER MANAGEMENT 

7:25-14.13 Size of lobster taken

   (a) A person shall not take from the marine waters of this State by any means, import, export, offload at any port, have in his or her possession, buy, sell or offer to buy or sell, any American lobster of the genus and species Homarus americanus, which when measured from the rear end of the eye socket along a line parallel to the center line of the body shell to the rear end of the body shell is less than the lengths listed below after the dates stipulated. 

After                                             Minimum Size (Inches)

                                          July 1, 2004                                                    3-3/8

(d) A person shall not import, export, have in his or her possession, buy, sell or offer to buy or sell any American lobster that does not comply with the size limits for the Lobster Management Areas as stipulated in (a) through (c) above. 

(e)  "The maximum size limits stipulated in (c) above do not apply to the recreational harvest of American lobster.  The minimum size limit for American lobster harvested for recreational purposes shall comply with those stipulated in (a) above and shall not be sold, offered for sale or bartered."

Federal rules now state that divers can take ONE (1) female “trophy” lobster above the maximum size limit a day.

7:25-14.15 Prohibitions

(a) A person shall not take from the marine waters of this State by any means, import, export, offload at any port, have in his or her possession, buy, sell or offer to buy or sell, any American lobster with eggs attached, or from which the egg have been removed. 

(b) A person shall not possess a female lobster bearing a v-shaped notch (that is, a straight-sided triangular cut without setal hairs, at least one-quarter inch in depth and tapering to a sharp point) in the flipper next to the right of the center flipper as viewed from the rear of the female lobster.  V-notched female lobster also means any female which is mutilated in a manner which could hide, obscure or obliterate such a mark.  The right flipper will be examined when the underside of the lobster is down and its tail is toward the person making the determination. 

(c) A person shall not use any spear, gig, gaff or other penetrating device as a method of capture of lobster. 

 7:25-14.19 Administrative notice

The Commissioner, with the approval of the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council, may modify minimum or maximum size limits, pot and trap limits, trip limits and possession limits in this section by notice in order to maintain compliance with any fishery management plan approved by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission pursuant to 16 U.S.C.§ 5104(b). The Department shall publish notice of any such modification by filing and publishing a notice of administrative change in the New Jersey Register and a notice in the Division’s commercial regulation publication. All such notices shall be effective when the Department files the notice with the Office of Administrative Law or as specified otherwise in the notice.

 7:25-14.20 Penalties

(a) Any person violating any of the provisions of this subchapter relating to crabs and lobsters shall be liable to the penalties provided by N.J.S.A. 23:2B-14, except for (b) and (c) below.

(g) Any person violating the provisions of N. J. A. C. 7:25-14.13, lobster size, tail size and landing of lobster parts, N.J.A.C. 7:25-14.14, possession limits, N.J.A.C. 7:25-14.15, prohibition of egg-bearing lobster, v-notched female lobsters and the prohibition of the use of a penetrating Device; N.J.A.C. 7:25-18.5(g)11i, lobster pot maximum size or N.J.A.C. 7:25-18.5(g)11iv, escape vents, shall be subject to a penalty of $20.00 for each lobster, lobster part or lobster pot in violation.

 (i) Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 23:10—21 and 21.1, any gear used in violation of the provisions of this subchapter may be seized and forfeited.

 Also for you consideration:

Advisories based on dioxin remain in effect for American lobster... A recent regional study of the American lobster has shown elevated levels of PCBs, cadmium and dioxin in the green gland (tomalley hepatopancreas). This finding is consistent with other lobster studies conducted in waters of the northeastern coastal states. Therefore, consumers are advised to remove and not consume the green gland of all American lobsters caught off the coast from Maine to New Jersey, as well as avoid products made from the lobster green gland. This advisory does not apply to other edible portions of the lobster. 


Information on this
page put together by Glenn Arthur,
New Jersey Council of Diving Clubs Chairperson
e-mail:  njccdcvc (.at.) juno (.dot.) com