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Federal Lobster Permit Holders - Trap Transfer Program Information

Sustainable  Fisheries Division
(978) 281 –9315
July 21, 2017

Effective Date: August 1, 2017

In 2015, we began the Lobster Trap Transfer Program which allows permit holders the flexibility to buy and sell trap allocation for Lobster Conservation Management Areas 2, 3, and the Outer Cape.  We are continuing this program this year, and to help facilitate the process, we are posting a detailed guide, as well as individual trap allocations and contact information under the “Trap Transfer Program” tab on our website at:

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there regulations that could affect this program in the future?

In response to the poor condition of Southern New England Stock, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering new management measures that have the potential to significantly restrict lobster fishing in Areas 2, 3, 4 and 5; as well as the trap transfer program.  We advise Federal permit holders to stay informed and proceed at their own risk.  You can follow ASMFC management updates at:

How can I find more details about the Trap Transfer Program?

You can find a detailed description and FAQ of the Trap Transfer Program in the Guide under the “Trap Transfer Program” tab on our website (link provided above).

Please contact the Sustainable Fisheries Division (978-281-9315) or the Analysis and Program Support Division (978-282-8483) with any further questions regarding trap transfer policy or your application, respectively.

What information is available online?

We posted several items on our 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.

What if I can’t access the internet, but would like this information?

We are posting information online to reduce paper use.  If you would prefer that we mail you a hard copy, call us at the phone number above to request one.

What do the posted allocations represent?

The allocations posted represent the number of traps available for transfer after applying fishing year 2018 reductions (5% for Areas 2 and 3).

Is any of this information confidential?

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

Will NMFS help broker trap transfers?

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

Will NMFS provide price information?

No.  We do not regulate the value of transfer transactions, and are not asking for participants to provide pricing information.  Potential trap transfer participants must negotiate trap transfers and prices before submitting an application.

When may I submit an application?

We will accept applications from August 1, 2017 – September 30, 2017, and all approved transfers will take effect May 1, 2018.

For small entity compliance guides, this bulletin complies with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement and Fairness Act of 1996.  This notice is authorized by the Regional Administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Greater Atlantic Region.