Financial Impact of Transitioning Two Sectors of the Northeast Lobster Fishery to On-Demand (Ropeless) Fishing

With fewer than 350 North Atlantic right whales left on the planet, the species is one step away from extinction. Humans pose the biggest threat to their survival due to entanglements with fishing gear and collisions with ships and boats. Ropeless fishing gear (also called “on-demand,” “pop-up,” and “buoyless” systems) offers a promising solution to entanglements by eliminating the deadly maze of vertical lines that connect buoys on the surface with traps on the seafloor.

We analyzed the costs of transitioning to ropeless fishing gear for two illustrative sectors of the commercial lobster fishery and detail the findings in this report. It will come as no surprise that the costs are significant. However, these costs should not be seen as a reason to dismiss ropeless gear as a viable solution. Instead, they should be viewed as an incentive for further investment. 

We project that the costs of this innovative new gear could drop by as much as 50% as its adoption scales up – just like with any new technology. Read the full report for our detailed analysis.