On Sept. 23, over 275 participants representing 22 countries converged in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island Canada for the weeklong International Conference on Lobster Biology and Management. This was the 8th annual conference and the second one to be hosted by Canada. It provided an opportunity for lobster fishery mangers, fishermen and scientists from all over the world to learn about the advances in lobster science while networking with their international peers.
There were over 230 abstracts, posters and talks. Sessions covered behavior, stock enhancement, habitat studies, growth, population dynamics, health assessment and disease, assessment methodologies, larval studies, management strategies, nutrition, physiology and climate change (which included a presentation from this reporter).
On one day, officials from South Africa, The United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the US spoke about management.
Over 40 fishermen came to the conference. Most were from Canada, but the list included a few from Vinalhaven. The Maine Department of Marine Resources had funds available to send more fishermen to the conference, but with an upturn in fishing in September, fishermen couldn’t afford to lose those days.
Steve Rosen of Vinalhaven made the trip. During Maine’s presentation on the industry day by chief state lobster biologist Carl Wilson, Rosen was invited up to the podium and spoke about fishing on Vinalhaven.
He traveled up to the conference with three other fishermen who were visiting from Tasmania, who then went fishing with Rosen after the conference.
The conference concluded with a banquet dinner and a keynote address by Maine’s own self-proclaimed world expert on lobster sex, Trevor Corson, author of The Secret Life of Lobsters and The Zen of Fish. Corson entertained the crowd, remarking that inviting him to a lobster conference “was a perverse case of someone preaching to the converted — and what could I possibly offer to a room full of illustrious lobster experts?” Corson also gave his premier performance of step dancing with a local group of musicians called the “Celtic Ladies” who performed at the banquet. He has since described the experience in his blog, “the Scrawling Claw,” at trevorcorson.com.
The proceedings of the 2007 conference will be published in the New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. The ninth international conference will be held in Bergen, Norway in June of 2011.