BOSTON, June 11 (UPI) — An Atlantic States Marine Fisheries report recommends a five-year ban on lobster fishing between Cape Cod and Virginia to allow depleted stocks to recover.
The Lobster Technical Committee said numbers in southern New England waters have dropped sharply in 10 years, from 35 million to 15 million, The Boston Globe reports. Toni Kern, a fisheries expert, said the consistent decline means the population has long-term problems, not cyclical declines and recoveries.
Lobster populations in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank appear to be healthy. But in southern New England, the number of lobsters taken has dropped 40 percent in the past eight years — and the number of lobstermen has also fallen.
Lobstermen and the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association argue against a moratorium. They blame climate change for the population drop and argue that to some extent lobsters have simply moved into deeper and colder waters.
“And fishermen take it on the chin every time,” Bernie Feeney, a member of the association, said.
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