American Lobster | Oceana Canada

Canadian Marine Life Encyclopedia

American Lobster

Homarus americanus

Also known as

Atlantic lobster, true lobster, lobster


Temperate waters of northwest Atlantic, from Labrador to North Carolina


Rocky reefs

Feeding Habits

Foraging predator

Conservation Status

Not listed


Order Decapoda (crayfish, crabs, lobsters, shrimp); Family Nephropidae (clawed lobsters)


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American lobster, unlike most invertebrates, have teeth. However, these teeth aren’t located in their mouths – they are in their stomach. Their stomach chews food using what looks like molars, called a “gastric mill.” Lobster has not always been a sought-after seafood, in fact, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it was so cheap that Americans used it as lawn fertilizer and fed it to prisoners and indentured servants. In Massachusetts, some servants fought against this by having it added to their contracts that they would not be feed lobster more than three times a week.  

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has not yet assessed American lobster in Canadian waters. However, under the Precautionary Approach Framework by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), the different populations or management units have been assessed as either Healthy or Unknown. These assessments are almost solely based on catch data from the lobster fishery, with most units appearing healthy, and those assessed as Unknown simply lacking a sufficient amount of information to be accurately assessed according to current methods.

Oceana Canada is working to protect Canada’s oceans for species like the lobster. Find out more about our campaigns and join us in helping to bring abundance back to the ocean.