Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) due to the depleted lobster population has drawn criticism from fisherman as well as environmental groups in several states.
The proposal stems from data collected that shows that the lobster population in the mid-Atlantic states has taken a nosedive.
Colleen Giannini, a fisheries biologist from the Connecticut state Department of Environmental Protection, said the most recent data from Long Island Sound shows lobster populations have not recovered from a sharp decline in the 1990s.
In public hearings this week, several fisherman blamed the diminished population on predators, which they have also been banned from catching. Others say disease is the reason for the decline.
In addition to fisherman defending their livelihood, environmental groups are urging the ASMFC to aim for a less harsh, more sustainable plan of action to replenish the lobsters in Atlantic waters.
In Connecticut in 2006, a “v-notch” rule was implemented in which fisherman were paid to release tagged female lobsters that were caught so that they could lay more eggs. Environmentalists say a plan like this would both replenish the lobster population and ease the strain on the fishing industry.
Hearings will continue through this week in Connecticut.
On July 22 in Warwick, RI, the ASMFC’s American Lobster Board will review the data that led scientists to recommend the ban. A hearing will be held shortly thereafter before any rules take affect.