Little information exists on the effects of lobsters that have been v-notched. To help analyze the results of the North Cape restoration program, which released 1.248 million v-notched females, a controlled v-notching laboratory experiment was conducted to determine whether mortality, shell disease, and the rate of notch loss differed between groups of notched and unnotched lobsters. Results from a 2-y tank study indicate that v-notching did not have a significant negative impact on survival or disease susceptibility. After the first molt since being v-notched, 97% of lobsters were harvestable (according to southern New England lobster management definitions at the time of the restoration effort); 59% of lobsters had v-notches less than 6.35 mm (1/4 in); and 84% of the lobsters exhibited visual setal hairs in the notch. Digital images of v-notches were analyzed to examine repair rate of v-notches per molt. Notches were examined in relation to 2 v-notch depths that have been considered by southern New England lobster fishery managers: 6.35 mm (1/4 in) and 3.18 mm (1/8 in). Of lobsters that molted once, the mean and median v-notch depth was less than 6.35 mm (1/4 in). All of them still had v-notches greater than 3.18 mm (1/8 in). Of the lobsters that molted twice, 100% had v-notches less than 6.35 mm (1/4 in), whereas only the 25th percentile had v-notches less than 3.18 mm (1/8 in).
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Vol. 29 • No. 2