Tracking lobster in the Minas Passage

Published September 29, 2021

Photo credit: Nicolas Winkler Photography

As part of FORCE’s ongoing research, the science team has been working on a multi-phased study with the Fishermen and Scientists Research Society (FSRS) and a local lobster fisher to help measure any effects tidal energy devices may have on the marine ecosystem.

“We’re using a series of experimental traps to capture lobster for data collection,” says FORCE Science Director Dan Hasselman. “With the help of FSRS researchers and a local fisher, we’re assessing the health and size of the lobsters, tagging them, and then releasing them back to the ocean to track their journey. We’re taking a lot of samples this fall – which will help improve the overall quality of our baseline data for lobster.”

The study is being conducted in three sites in and around the FORCE demonstration area in the Minas Passage: impact, near control, and far control (see Image Gallery below).

“In each site, we deploy three traps for a 24-hour period before hauling them back up at low-water slack tide,” says Dan. “That’s nine traps total, and we’re repeating that process eight times over two phases – early September and late September – to coincide with the neap tidal phase. It should give us fairly robust statistics for assessing lobster abundance and movement this September.”

The work builds on the lobster catchability research FORCE conducted in 2017, working with NEXUS Coastal Resource Management to measure the “catchability” rates of 351 lobsters. Based on that work, and with help from regulators and TriNav Fisheries Consultants, FORCE refined its science program to design the lobster research program currently underway.

Since 2016, FORCE has completed:

  • Over 560 hours of hydroacoustic fish surveys
  • Over 5,000 ‘C-POD’ marine mammal monitoring days
  • Bi-weekly shoreline observations
  • 49 observational seabird surveys
  • Four drifting marine sound surveys and additional sound monitoring, and
  • 11 days of lobster surveys

Learn more about FORCE’s environmental monitoring program: