Empowering Communities, Advocating Solutions


Source: CBS New York

Climate Change Blamed For Pushing Lobsters Out Of Long Island Sound

Posted: August 21, 2015
Originally Published: August 20, 2015

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Global warming is being blamed for lobsters leaving the Long Island Sound and moving up to cooler waters off of Maine.

Commercial lobster boats in New York landed 112 metric tons of lobsters in 2013, a record low, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported. In 1996, boats hauled in more than 4,000 metric tons.

“The Long Island lobster population is in a tragic decline,” said Adrienne Esposito, exeuctive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “One of the leading factors is the water temperature increase in the sound. And as it increases, it makes it inhospitable for the lobsters. They’re a cold-water species.”

At a power plant in Long Island Sound, there were more than 75 days with a recorded average water temperature above 68 degrees Fahrenheit in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Between 1976 and 2010, that happened only twice.

The trend is also driving lobstermen in Connecticut and Rhode Island out of business, ending a centuries-old way of life. Meanwhile, Maine fishermen have landed more than 100 million pounds of lobster for four years in a row, by far the highest four-year haul in the state’s history.

“We’re very concerned,” Esposito said. “What’s happening, we see, is that the lobsters are in failure. They really have declined in population to the point where the lobstermen (in Long Island Sound) are really depleted and almost going out of business themselves.

“The only thing we can do is get serious about climate change,” Esposito said.

Listen now