INACTIVE US Jonah crab- pot/trap

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Reason for Inactivity
  • Lack of funding


Note: This FIP is inactive.

Jonah crab has long been considered a bycatch of the lobster industry. In recent years, however, markets for Jonah crab have increased, causing concern that targeted fishing pressure will compromise the health of the fishery. (Completed)

Jonah crab has no stock assessment or fishery management plan of its own, due in part to limited data on its population, growth rates, distribution, and sexual maturity. In addition, the limited dealer reports available often don’t differentiate by species, confusing Jonah crab (Cancer borealis) with rock crab (Cancer irroatus). 

As Jonah crab increases in value to the region, protecting the resource from decimation becomes progressively important. According to NMFS data, 4,089.8 mt of Jonah crab was landed in New England in 2011 with a total ex-vessel value of $5,530,388. In fact, the harvest has increased steadily over the past decade. While Maine lands the greatest amount of lobster in New England, Massachusetts, followed by Rhode Island, has landed the greatest amount of Jonah crab in the region for the past three years. In 2011, Massachusetts landed 2,440.30 mt of Jonah crab, Rhode Island landed 1,152.30 mt, Maine landed 497.10 mt, and Connecticut landed 0.1 mt.

Between 2013 and 2016 a group of industry, management and research leaders engaged in this FIP to address sustainability concerns in the Jonah crab fishery, advocating for a series of research and management actions. By the end of 2015, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission adopted the first fishery management plan for Jonah crab along the east coast.

FIP Description 

Note: This FIP is inactive.

FIP Objective(s) 
  • Support the implementation of a Fishery Management Plan for Jonah crab by December 2018
  • Support data collection of the Jonah crab fishery by December 2018
FIP Type 
FIP Stage 
Stage 4: Improvements in Fishing Practices or Fishery Management
Start and Projected End Dates
January 2013
December 2016
Common Name 
Jonah Crab
Scientific Name
Cancer borealis
Gear Type 
FAO Major Fishing Area
Area 21 (Atlantic, Northwest)
Exclusive Economic Zones
United States of America (the)
Geographic Scope 
Massachusetts, Rhode Island
Estimated Total FIP Landings 
4,089 metric tons

FIP Leads

Organization Name 
Gulf of Maine Research Institute
Organization Type 
Primary Contact 
Jen Levin
(207) 228-1688
FIP Identification Number The FIP Identification Number is automatically generated by FisheryProgress when a FIP profile is created. While the number itself is not meaningful, they are used by NGOs, academia, and industry to refer to FIPs in a consistent way.