- Hello, Jeff - Remember 1999 and Guiliani's massive pesticide
spraying of NYC followed by local towns around Long Island Sound? Well,
lobster populations have never returned to Long Island sound and there
are only a few hardcore lobstermen left.
- Of course, no one is mentioning the tons of pesticides
that were sprayed but that would explain why the situation is so critical
"SOUTH" of Cap Cod, Mass. My guess is the pesticide altered
the environment in a way that pathogens could develop and multiply. Also,
lobsters live their lives and feed on the bottom of the sound, not near
the top therefore if it were water temperature why wouldn't we see fish
and other marine life closer to the surface die off before lobsters. Yes,
the oil spill was 1996 and that combined with the pesticide spraying, I
believe, is directly responsible for the lobster die off.
- You cannot poison the delicate salt marsh and the waters
of the sound without having dire consequences for the most vulnerable,
the bottom feeders like lobsters. Lobsters may never return or at least
not return for generations.
- 12 Years After Guiliani's Massive Pesticide Spray Binge,
Lobsters Never Returned to Long Island
- Food Manufacturing, Associated Press (AP) report [edited]
- Nick Crismale made his career as a lobsterman, but lately
there are not enough of the crustaceans in Long Island Sound to make it
worth putting out the traps.
- Crismale, who dedicated himself to clamming this year
, had been among the few remaining holdouts in an industry devastated
by a steady decline in lobster stocks. Only about 30 full-time lobstermen
are left in Connecticut, down from more than 300 in the years before a
devastating lobster die-off in 1999.
- "We're losing a way of life. We're losing a heritage,"
said Crismale, 61, the leader of the Connecticut Commercial Lobstermen's
Association. Some argued last year  that the species was rebounding,
and fishermen fought back a proposal for a 5-year ban on lobster fishing
south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. But that optimism is fading. Researchers
who trawl the waters of Long Island Sound for a survey that began in 1984
say they have never seen so few lobsters.
- The 1999 crash was heralded by the typically feisty lobsters
turning limp and losing their fight. The pattern has repeated itself each
late summer, and state officials say they receive a larger number of anecdotal
reports of sick and dying lobsters every year.
- While lobsters are thriving in Maine, production is down
from a peak in the late 1990s in the area south of Cape Cod through North
Carolina. Scientists cannot explain the decline, but possible factors include
overfishing, a 1996 Rhode Island oil spill and a disease that disfigures
lobster shells but does not taint the meat. They also believe it may be
partly explained by warmer water temperatures that have driven lobsters
to cooler, deeper waters -- away from prime spawning grounds and to places
where more predators lurk. In Long Island Sound, scientists say, commercial
lobster fishing may be doomed.
- The number of lobsters found by trawlers that take samples
at 200 random points in the sound every year has been falling "precipitously"
since the late 1990s, said Penny Howell, a marine fisheries biologist with
the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in Old
Lyme. She said a field crew could not even deliver on a researcher's recent
request for 10 lobsters.
- "Whether lobster fishing is going to be commercially
viable is highly questionable," said Howell, who added that she believes
the lobster is resilient enough to avoid disappearing from the sound altogether.
Rising water temperatures and runoff contamination are among the suspected
culprits in Long Island Sound, an estuary that is bounded by New York City
at its western point and has roughly 8 million people living within its
watershed area. Howell said water temperatures in the western half of the
sound now go above a 68 deg F [20 deg C] threshold for lobsters for weeks
at a time in the summer, leaving them vulnerable to any additional stresses.
She said the same phenomenon is playing out in Rhode Island and southern
Massachusetts. Earlier this month [October 2011], Connecticut state representative
Terry Backer, a former lobsterman, arranged a meeting of fishermen who
asked state lawmakers to urge neighboring New York state to stop using
methoprene, a pesticide used to kill mosquitoes that may carry the West
- "If you put something that's designed to kill things
into the environment, you don't have control over what it kills,"
said Backer, a Stratford democrat who is also executive director of the
nonprofit Soundkeeper Fund. A spokeswoman for the New York Department of
Environmental Conservation, Aphrodite Montalvo, said research shows the
lobsters had been stressed by hostile environmental conditions and that
individual pesticides were not enough to cause the die-off. She said the
agency has upgraded sewage treatment plants and taken other steps toward
improving water quality. Crismale, of Guilford, said he holds out some
hope that the industry will bounce back. He turned to clams in part to
keep up his equipment running in the meantime.
- But he complained that fishery managers are focusing
on regulating the fishermen and not on other, more difficult issues such
as water pollution and the recovery of fish that prey on young lobster.
- "I just refuse to give up. I'm hoping somewhere
along the line somebody comes up with a program that focuses on the real
issues," he said. A Waterford lobsterman who fishes out of New London,
said the fishermen have also been squeezed in recent years by hikes in
minimum size requirements. With stocks dwindling and the price of lobster
down to USD 4 a pound, he said lobstermen are putting in long hours and
maintaining expensive equipment for what amounts to "beer and cigarette
money." "There are few guys willing to put in the work it takes
to be a commercial lobsterman," he said.
- The lobster haul in Connecticut has shriveled to about
400 000 pounds [180 tons] annually from 3.7 million pounds [about 1700
tons] in 1998. The board that advises the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries
Commission on lobster rules voted last year  to scrap a proposed
5-year lobster fishing ban for much of the East Coast, but fishermen say
they are concerned now about proposals to limit the catch.
- For lobstermen seeking other work, a program funded by
the US Department of Agriculture provides training for other jobs in the
maritime industry. Tessa Getchis helps to coordinate the program as associate
extension educator at Connecticut Sea Grant, which is funded mainly through
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She said about 80
lobstermen have signed up for the program, which offers classes in refitting
lobster boats and applying their skills to other trades such as aquaculture.
- "Some of them have made the decision to move on,"
Getchis said. "They all hope that this industry will turn around,
but it just doesn't look that way right now."
- [Byline: Michael Melia]
- -- Communicated by: ProMED-mail from HealthMap alerts
- [While this is a case of multiple factors as causes for
the lack of lobsters, it is unclear what is happening to the lobsters.
The limp shell situation is mentioned. There is no clear indication if
they are dying or failing to reproduce or if they have moved to other locations.
- While water temperatures of 68 F (20 deg C) do not sound
too bad to humans, lobsters prefer cold (35 deg F or 1.7 deg C), clean,
salt water and a dark, solitary resting space. So 68 F is really hot for
- It seems this article agrees there are a host of possible
reasons for the lobster decline, but no real path forward. There are also
more questions, such as did they leave for cooler waters or have they failed
to reproduce. Just as the problem seems to have been created by several
factors, so the solution is likely to be multipronged as well. That may
include more research into theses creatures in and around Connecticut and
Long Island, NY, to determine a bit more precisely what is happening.
- On a local level, people who enjoying eating the lobster
may be faced with higher prices. Perhaps, a portion of all lobsters sold,
or consumed should go into some research account for understanding what
is happening to the lobster. - Mod.TG]
- [Long Island Sound and the states mentioned in the article
can be seen on the HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map at http://healthmap.org/r/1oOF>.
- Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural
Economics Univ of West Indies Please visit my "Emerging Diseases"
message board at:http://www.emergingdisease.org/phpbb/index.php Also
my new website:http://drpdoyle.tripod.com/ Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
Go with God and in Good Health
- Benjamin Franklin said, "They that can give
up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve
neither liberty nor safety."