No Lobsters Through LI Sound

by Kelsey Schappell
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Joe Shlabotnik, Flickr

A nearly three-month break is scheduled to give the lobster population a chance to replenish.

Local lobstermen will be taking some time off this fall, though they may not want to.

It's part of the first-ever shutdown of the Long Island Sound's fisheries, starting Saturday until November 28th.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission ordered the shut-down and a 10% reduction of lobsters harvested. In doing so, it hopes to replenish the lobster population in the Sound.

Nick Crismale is the president of the Connecticut Commercial Lobstermen's Association. He doesn't think the plan will help to bring the lobsters back, and he doesn't think it's good for business.

"There's no unemployment compensation, there's no down-time compensation. It's just, 'here you go, you're out of business for three months,'" Crismale said.

Lobster depletion in the Sound began in 1999, when pesticides were used as a precaution to the West Nile Virus scare. Pollution hasn't helped. Other sea creatures, like seals and dogfish, routinely feed on lobsters as well. Crismale says the closure really isn't going to help anybody.

"The resource has been depleted to the point of almost non-existent. [It's] certainly not enough resource to support an industry, as it did long ago," he explained.

But lobster consumers have little to worry about, according to Michael Grimshaw, President of the Southern New England Fishermen and Lobstermen Association and 45-year veteran of the industry. He says they'll probably be imported from New England or Canada. 

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