Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today urged the American Lobster Management Board to reject a broad moratorium on lobster fishing that could potentially devastate commercial lobster fishermen, wholesalers and retailers in Connecticut.
The board will meet Thursday to consider a five-year moratorium on all lobster fishing south of Cape Cod, including Long Island Sound, after a recent report by the board’s Technical Committee revealed that the region’s lobster population has been “critically depleted.”
Blumenthal said the committee’s own report concludes that increased water temperature — not lobster harvesting — is the primary factor in stock reduction.
“These findings, the welfare of countless lives and the continuation of Connecticut’s rich fishing heritage strongly support rejection of a moratorium,” Blumenthal said. “I strongly urge that you reject any moratorium on lobster fishing in the Long Island Sound — a move that would potentially undercut a key cornerstone of a Connecticut marketplace, beginning with commercial lobster fishermen and reverberating throughout an entire network of wholesalers and retailers.
“At a time of severe recession, more sensible conservation measures are required because our fishermen cannot sustain a broad ban against lobster fishing, as the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering.
“As a longtime advocate for preserving Long Island Sound, and all of the resources and treasures that it encompasses, I recognize the necessity of encouraging healthy lobster population growth in the region. However, as the Technical Committee’s own findings demonstrate, a moratorium fails to firmly promise the promotion of lobster stock.”
Blumenthal urged the board to consider other conservation measures, including programs to reduce the catch of egg-bearing female lobsters, establishing no-harvest areas and other readily available alternatives that may bolster the lobster population without the devastating impact of a moratorium.
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