Quantifying Demographics and Monitoring Movement of American Lobster in the Minas Passage and Basin

Principal Investigators:

Dr. Michael. J. Dadswell, on behalf of Big Moon Power Canada

Start Date: October 2017

End Date: January 2019

Big Moon Power Canada (BMPC) is developing an innovative concept to harness tidal energy though the use of a mobile barge tethered by cable to an electric generator installed on shore. To help understand potential environmental effects, BMPC is researching lobster movements and quantifying lobster demographics in the Minas Passage and Basin to identify important lobster spawning habitat within Minas Basin. The study will tag lobster with floy tags and Vemco transponders and attach Vemco receivers to lobster traps, then harvest the tagged lobster at locations in both Minas Passage and Minas Basin.

The project consists of lobster fishing in Minas Passage during the fall lobster season (October-December) to collect, assess and tag lobsters in this area, then fishing in Minas Basin from April to May, 2018 to assess the spawning characteristics of lobster tagged the previous fall, then returning to Minas Passage to fish for tagged lobster during the June-August period. This will allow the researchers to track lobster from Minas Passage to their suspected spawning grounds in Minas Basin, then back again to Minas Passage. The study will use local lobster fishers to support the research staff while tagging and retrieving lobsters.

This ten-month project will create baseline information on lobster movement that can ultimately be used to help identify both near and far field impacts of tidal development. The study will also provide valuable information to the local lobster fishing community, allowing them to better understand the species they fish. Finally, the study will further enhance the knowledge base required to close the current gaps identified by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, which will be critical to the continued development of the tidal industry in the Bay of Fundy.