American Lobster Trap Transfer Program Information

September 02, 2020

Effective Date: August 1, 2020

The Lobster Trap Transfer Program allows permit holders the flexibility to buy and sell trap allocation for Lobster Conservation Management Areas 2, 3, and the Outer Cape.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have any Trap Transfer Program rules changed since last year?

No.The regulations governing trap transfers and the process of transferring traps are the same as last year. Area 3, however, has completed the 4-year trap reduction and will not incur a 5% allocation reduction for the 2021 fishing year.

Are there regulatory changes that could affect this program in the future?

Yes. NOAA Fisheries is considering future changes to the federal lobster regulations that were recommended by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). These changes include the use of a control date to limit the number of traps or lobster permits a federal permit holder can have in Areas 2 and 3.  Any new measures could impact your trap allocations as early as fishing year 2022. NOAA Fisheries is also discussing potential measures that would minimize threats to North Atlantic right whales, including measures that might restrict and reduce trap caps, trap allocations, and buoy lines (end lines). You should stay informed of potential changes, and know that you transfer traps at your own risk.  You can follow lobster management updates on the NOAA Fisheries website and the ASMFC website.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

If you have any questions about your application, permit, or trap allocation, please contact Analysis and Program Support Division at 978-282-8483.  Please contact the Sustainable Fisheries Division at 978-281-9315 for information about the regulations and requirements of the Trap Transfer Program.

What information is available online?

NOAA Fisheries posted several items on the website including:  An updated version of the Trap Transfer Program Guide; a worksheet of examples that walk you through the transfer process; the application form; and a list of contact information and trap allocations for Area 2, 3, and Outer Cape permit holders. The items are posted on the trap transfer program tab the lobster species webpage. Hard copies of this information are available by request from the contacts listed above.

What do the allocations posted on the website represent?

The individual allocations posted represent the number of traps available for the 2021 fishing year. This includes a 5-percent reduction in Areas 2 and 3.

Is any of this information confidential?

No. All information posted on the website is publicly available information.

Will NOAA Fisheries help broker trap transfers?

No. Potential trap transfer participants must contact each other directly to negotiate trap transfers.

Will NOAA Fisheries provide price information?

No. NOAA Fisheries does not regulate the value of transfer transactions and are not asking participants to provide price information. Potential trap transfer participants must negotiate trap transfers and prices before submitting an application.

When may I submit an application?

You may submit applications from August 1, 2020, through September 30, 2020.  Approved transfers will take effect May 1, 2021.

Last updated by Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office on September 03, 2020