Human Ecology

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 183-207

First online:

The lobster fiefs: Economic and ecological effects of territoriality in the maine lobster industry

  • James M. AchesonAffiliated withDepartment of Anthropology, University of Maine

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Lobstermen from each community along the coast of central Maine claim inshore fishing rights in particular areas. Although their claims are unrecognized by the state, they are well established and backed by surreptitious violence. Two kinds of lobstering territories exist, here termed “nucleated” and “perimeterdefended,” which differ essentially in the extent to which exclusive fishing rights are maintained. These differences in territorial organization affect the fishing effort of lobstermen, which in turn has a strong biological and economic impact.

Key words

lobster fishing territoriality common property resources Maine