Sunday, June 13, 2010

Zoiks! A 5 year ban on the Southern New England lobster fishery?

I've been part of research efforts on lobsters in southern New England on and off since 2002.  The fishery is in dire straights due to a range of problems like overfishing and infectious and metabolic diseases likely brought on by a changing climate.  But I was still surpsrised today by this article outlining a proposal to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission by its lobster science committee to suspend the lobster fishery south of Cape Cod for at least 5 years to allow it to recover from these recent dramas.

Quite honestly I can't see the proposal getting approved.  It would kill whats left of the existing fishery and I agree with the lobsterman quoted in the story that the infrastructure would simply go away (they could convert to trawling or dragging for scallops, but that ain't much of a fishery these days either).  Maybe that's what it needs.  Maybe it would never come back.  Maybe there IS no lobster fishery in SNE anymore.   I don't know, but it certainly speaks to the seriousness of the state the fishery has come to.

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