V-Notching Regulations

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What is V-Notching?

A “v-notch” is a mark on the tail flipper of a female lobster that was put there by commercial lobstermen as a means to identify and protect known “breeders” in the population from harvest.

Commercial lobstermen make a v-notch in the tail flippers of egg-bearing female lobsters they encounter while fishing.

The v-notch remains in the female lobsters tail for two molts, giving them protection from harvest for up to 5 years.

V-Notching History

The practice of v-notching originated in Maine, and dates back to the early 1900’s.

Today it is intended as a means of protecting local “broodstock”.

Which Flipper is Notched?

The tail flipper immediately to the right of the middle flipper, when the lobster is examined with the underside of the lobster down and its tail is toward the person making the determination.

Recreational Lobster/Crab Permit holders are not required to v-notch egg-bearing female lobsters.

After Notching


Prior to 1st Molt


After 1st Molt


After 2nd Molt



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