CT to Conduct LI Sound Lobster Study

Northern lobster hides in a wreck. Photo/Matthew Lawrence, NOAA Stellwagon Bank, National Marine Sanctuary

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is undertaking a comprehensive study seeking reasons for the continued decline in the lobster population of Long Island Sound.

“We are now developing the procedures and protocols for a study that will rely on a Sound-wide sampling of lobsters and sophisticated laboratory tests to obtain a better understanding of why this species—and an industry it has historically supported—is now in danger of collapse in Long Island Sound,” said DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty.

“Through our testing and analysis we will focus on stress factors, such as high water temperatures or chemical contaminants that may be contributing to the decline of the lobster population,” Esty said.  “We will also develop a screening—similar to an annual physical exam—to monitor the vital signs of lobster health over time.”

Esty said the study will include the possible role played by pesticides in the mortality of lobsters, given attention this issue has received from lobstermen and others, the availability of more sophisticated and sensitive test technology, and the results of preliminary tests conducted by DEEP and UConn on lobsters taken from Long Island Sound this fall.

CT Sound Lobster Landing Stats

  • Lobster landings in Long Island Sound have declined from 3.7 million pounds in 1998 to just 142,000 pounds in 2011.
  • Between 1984 and 1998 state lobster landings averaged 2.3 million pounds.  Lobster abundance and landings in the Sound have declined steadily, to present record low levels, since that time.
  • The central and western Sound, where landings have fallen by 99% since 1998, has seen the greatest decline in lobster abundance.

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