Tuesday, 15 June 2010

New England Lobstermen May Face 5-Year Ban - CBS News

Lobstering in southern New England might be looking at a 5-year ban, in order to allow the low stocks to recover.

The fishery has been especially poor the past 10 or so years (and I should know; I worked on a lobster-boat-turned-educational-vessel). Pressures such as overfishing, pesticide runoff (lobsters are essentially sea-bugs, making pesticides extra harmful) and rising water temperatures are all possible causes, and honestly it's probably a mix of those three and more.

There are already reasonable regulations on lobster fishing, such as a minimum keep size and traps that allow young ones to escape. Where I was working, I'm pretty sure we had to throw back all the females. There was also a re-introduction program in my hometown where baby lobsters were raised safely until a certain age and then released. You could tell which were from the program, because their tails would be notched and lobstermen were supposed to throw back any with the mark, which signified it was still too young to collect (the notch grew out after several molts, after which it would be old enough for collection).

photo credit CBS News via AP/Pat Wallenbach

Lobstermen are arguing the 5-year ban would be a death-sentence to the already weak fishery, saying infrastructure and markets would collapse. Maybe that's a good thing. As far as I can remember back, people in southern New England have always been worried about our lobsters going away. They fight over territory and steal each other’s catches. And it's hardly even for anything - most of the areas lobsters are caught in Maine.

American Lobster Management Board member Dennis Abbott said it pretty simply:

"It becomes a dilemma of trying to protect the lobstermen in their occupations versus protecting the resource and ensuring there is a resource."

Full article here (CBS News)

1 comment:

  1. Just a thought here but couldn't they do the same thing by making it an alternating one year no Lobbing and then the next they can and alternate it over the next 10 or 15 yrs?

    That would enable the Lobster to come back slowly and the Lobstermen wouldnt be out of work for a 5 yr span and it would keep pricing up so the revenues wouldnt be cut near as much as a "Fish out" would.