When can traps be set?
Are there different types of lobster licenses?
Where Can Lobstermen Fish?
Are there trap limits?
What is the Apprenticeship Program?
Traps can be set in the state of Maine, at any time between June 1st and September 1st. Traps cannot be hauled after 4pm on Saturdays and cannot be hauled at any time on Sundays. Traps may be hauled any day of the week until sunset throughout the rest of the year. Most lobsters are caught during the summer months from Late May to September when lobsters migrate inshore due to the warmer waters. Click here for a PDF of lobstering times for 2020 from DMR
There are different types of licenses for lobstering in the state of Maine. Class I, Class II, Class III, Apprentice license, Student license, Non commercial license, Non-resident license, and other. For more information on these different types of licenses click here. Lobstering in Maine was once a fishery exclusive to commercial fishermen. However, in 1996, the State of Maine passed a law which allowed Maine residents to possess a lobster/crab license as a recreational fishery. This is exclusive to Maine residents, who must also undergo a training to ensure the fishery remains sustainable and the population remains healthy. More info.
DMR page for license renewal: https://www.maine.gov/dmr/commercial-fishing/licenses/
Lobstermen can fish in their zones and other zones as well. When a lobsterman applies for a commercial license, he or she is assigned to a certain region which can consist of different trap limits based on the number of lobstermen in the region. These regions are called zones, there are 7 zones on the coast of Maine, labelled a-g. The zone that is assigned to a lobsterman dictates the number of traps they can have and set. Most zones allow lobstermen to fish up to 800 traps at a time, while some allow only 600 traps at a time. Although a lobsterman may be allowed to fish 800 traps at a time, they don’t necessarily have to set the maximum number of traps.
Yes, there are trap limits. At least 50% of a lobstermen’s traps must be set within their assigned zone, and the rest can be set within other zones if they choose to do so. However, when exiting and entering new and different zones, the trap limit must be abided by of the zone you are assigned. That means if you are part of zone _ with a trap limit of 800, and you choose to set you other traps in zone _ with a limit of 600 traps, you must then only set 600 traps in total. More info.
The apprenticeship program consists of a minimum of 24 months, documenting 1,000 hours, 200 fishing days with sponsors, and apprentice/student fishermen must provide documentation that all these have been completed. Maine. gov made a brochure to answer any questions about this program. Click her to see the brochure.