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Source: Cablevision Long Island

Editorial: Lost Lobsters


Posted: July 20, 2012
Originally Published: July 20, 2012

New York and Connecticut are moving to temporarily ban lobster fishing in Long Island Sound next year, going through the motions to protect a species that is disappearing.

Also disappearing: the livelihood of the few lobstermen like John German who is still setting out pots in the Sound. He worries that the three-month ban will never be lifted.

“I think you’re more than past the beginning of the end,” he said. “Until they start controlling predators and water temperature–which they can’t–the fishermen are the fall guys.”

Citizens Campaign for the Environment agrees, saying it will support the lobstermen in opposing the ban. Over-fishing, they say, is not the problem. Warmer waters, pesticides and predators are to blame.

While you can’t blame the DEC for trying to give lobsters a period to rejuvenate, environmentalists are right to question the strategy.

What’s working against fisheries in Long Island Sound appears to be climate change, and lagging federal efforts to clean up nitrogen pollution in the Sound, with the cutting of millions of federal dollars for that purpose in recent years.

Sadly, while it may be too late for lobsters and lobstermen, this is no time to give up fighting for adequate federal support in the battle to save the Sound.