Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


The purpose of this thesis was to explore the limited entry alternative of fishery management by examining the history of a particular limited entry scheme: the Massachusetts inshore commercial lobster fishery license limitation law. A review was made of existing limited entry theory, followed by a description of limited entry programs extant in U.S. fisheries. The legislative and political histories of the Massachusetts lobster fishery limited entry program was then examined. The limited entry law was then analyzed by comparing what actually occurred with what is supposed to occur according to limited entry theory. A quantitative analysis of changes in catch per unit of effort resulting from the law was demonstrated. Major events resulting from the limited entry law were then examined. The overall conclusion of this thesis was that the limited entry program for this fishery has failed to achieve its objectives, but is not a failed policy. In effect, Massachusetts went half way to achieving the system they knew they needed for limited entry to be successful. This thesis concludes with a proposal on how the State should use limited entry in a new comprehensive lobster fishery management plan.