Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 5-2018


In the face of declining stock and catch, fisheries stakeholders worldwide are evaluating conservation practices necessary for sustainability. Contrariwise, the Maine lobster fishery’s success in resource management, particularly with the v-notch law, stands as an exemplar for success. The v-notch law protects the reproductive stock via fishermen voluntarily marking egg-bearing females with a “notch” in the tail fin, indicating they may not be caught and sold. In 1948, lobstermen supported v-notch legislation having recognized the necessity of preserving their resource. This research provides an updated examination of the v-notch law’s role today in conservation efforts. Through an analysis of legislation over the past ten years and oral history interviews reflecting current lobstermen’s beliefs, this research assesses how lobstermen perceive and practice the law, while also exploring the broader historical and social-ecological context in which this law is situated.