Lobster ban for the east coast bid likely. There are alarming low levels of lobster along the east coast that might force a five-year ban. The problem seems to stem from Cape Cod to Virginia, where lobster levels are quite low in that part of the east coast.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, ACCSP, will soon be deciding if they will place a five-year ban on harvesting the Lobsters in order to bring the population back up. ACCSP is a cooperative state-federal program to design, implement, and conduct marine fishery statistic data collection programs. In addition, they integrate the data into a single data management system that will meet the needs of fishery managers, scientists and fishermen.
The ACCSP’s technical committee of biologists will meet in Warwick, Rhone Island to discuss the proposal. They have ultimate authority to shut down lobstering in these coastal waters. “Long Island Sound, in particular, has been in poor health since 1999,” Toni Kerns, senior fishery management plan coordinator at the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, said in a statement. “We had a die off in the fishery.”
This ban would not include Maine, where lobsters are thriving. According to state records and estimates, last year fishermen pulled in 75.6 million pounds raking in $223.7 million. However, this was still $22 million lighter than in 2008. “Nearly 90 percent of the nation’s lobsters come from Maine”, George Lapointe, commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, said in a statement.
According to his estimates, only 4 million pounds of lobsters were produced in other states last year, so the ban won’t have a large practical impact. “There have been people making allegations that we’re doing this to price markets,” Lapointe said. “Just the idea that it’s going to somehow be a boost to our fishery is not based on any information that I’ve seen. So there’s no economic boom that I see from our discussion in southern New England.”