Empowering Communities, Advocating Solutions


Source: Long Island Business News

Proposed lobster fishing ban prompts opposition


Posted: July 13, 2010
Originally Published: July 13, 2010

Local groups are calling for alternatives to a far-reaching, five-year ban the federal government is considering on lobster fishing that would stretch along a vast swathe of Atlantic coastline that includes Long Island.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which includes representatives from Maine to Virginia, has proposed a five-year ban on harvesting lobsters from Cape Cod, Mass., to Cape May, NJ.

The commission, which drafted a proposal and is holding hearings, is scheduled to vote on whether to release it for public comment at a meeting July 27 in Delaware.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is holding a meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. at its Setauket offices on the plan. A hearing was held in East Lyme, Conn., last night.

“A five-year moratorium is draconian and should only be used as an action of last resort, not the first step towards restoration,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Farmingdale-based Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

Esposito’s group is pushing for “more reasonable, sustainable restoration efforts by federal and state agencies.”

The Connecticut Lobstermen’s Association and The Long Island Lobstermen’s Association both oppose the plan.

“It’ll put them all out of business,” Esposito said. “If our federal agencies worked collaboratively with New York State and Connecticut and the lobstermen, we could shape a plan that allows lobstermen to continue the essential role they play in the Long Island Sound.”

Esposito argues the federal government’s lack of action has led to problems leading to the proposed ban, but that we “need federal action to move us in the right direction.”

Connecticut in 2006 launched a program where lobstermen notched female lobsters’ tails in a v-shape.
Lobsters were thrown back into the water, giving the females more time to spawn and lay eggs. Lobstermen also were than paid for any caught and released notched lobsters.

But Esposito said that program never launched in New York, which she said diminished its effectiveness.

The Citizens Campaign has been advocating a federal program involving New York and Connecticut to help restore the volume of lobster to a more sustainable level.