It is unlawful for any person to take or attempt to take lobsters or crabs by use of pots or traps without said pots or traps having the following features:
It is also unlawful for any lobster/crab trap to exceed a volume of 22,950 cubic inches.
Ghost panels are designed to create an opening to allow the escapement of lobsters within 12 months after a trap has been abandoned or lost.
Ghost panel specifications:
Escapes vents are required in order to allow sub-legal lobsters and other non-targeted species to escape lobster/crab traps.
It is required that one or more rectangular escape vents or openings or two or more unobstructed round openings be placed in the parlor section of the trap.
If your traps have 2 parlors, BOTH must be vented.
Recreational fishermen fishing in the Gulf of Maine Recreational Lobster/Crabbing Area: Rectangular escape vents must be at least 1-15⁄16 inches by 5-3⁄4 inches or two circular vents must measure at least 2-7⁄16 inches in diameter.
Recreational fishermen fishing in the Outer Cape Cod or Southern New England Recreational Lobster Areas: Rectangular escape vents must measure at least 2 inches by 5-3⁄4 inches or two circular vents must measure at least 2-5⁄8 inches in diameter.
Can the escape vent be used as the ghost panel?
Yes. The escape vent may serve as a ghost panel if incorporated into a panel constructed of, or attached to the trap with: wood lath, cotton, hemp, sisal or jute twine not greater than 3⁄16 inch in diameter; or non-stainless, uncoated ferrous metal not greater than 3⁄32 inch in diameter, and upon breakdown of the degradable materials, will create an opening for egress of lobsters at least 3-3⁄4 by 3-3⁄4 inches.
Can the door of the trap be considered a ghost panel?
Yes. The door of the trap may serve as the ghost panel if fastened to the trap with: wood lath, cotton, hemp, sisal or jute twine not greater than 3⁄16 inch in diameter; or non-stainless, uncoated ferrous metal not greater than 3⁄32 inch diameter.
Do escape vents and ghost panels need to be attached in a specific orientation?
No. Escape vents and ghost panels need to provide an unobstructed means for escape for lobsters and must be located in the parlor section of the trap. It has been observed, however, that certain orientations work better than others (see below).
If I use wood traps do I need a ghost panel?
Traps constructed entirely or partially of wood shall be considered to be in compliance if constructed of wood lath to the extent that deterioration of wooden component(s) will result in an unobstructed opening at least 3-3⁄32 inches by 3-3⁄32 inches.
Why are there rectangular and circular vent options?
Circular vents retain crabs better than rectangular vents.
Escape Vent and Ghost Panel Placement
• Note: These examples are meant to be used as suggestions for escape vent and ghost panel placement in lobster traps. It is NOT required that escape vents and ghost panels be positioned in any way, except to provide an “unobstructed” means for escape by sub-legal lobsters.
More Effective Placement In Allowing Escapement of Sublegal Lobsters
Less Effective Placement In Allowing Escapement of Sublegal Lobsters
• Less effective locations for escape vent panels include the inside of a trap and the upper panel and door.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.