Depleted Long Island Sound Lobster Harvest Hurts Commercial Industry

Jul 30, 2012

Environmental advocates and Connecticut lobstermen are calling on state and federal lawmakers to do more to restore the health of Long Island Sound. As WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, the state's commercial lobster industry has been hit hard by a severely depleted lobster harvest.

Nick Crismale of Guilford has been catching lobsters for 40 years, but since the die-off began in 1998, he's had to move onto other shellfish to make his living. "I haven't been lobstering because there's just not enough resource to financially sustain myself but I've been doing clamming so I'm constantly on the water." Before the die-off, the local lobstermen pulled in 6.5 million pounds a year. Now the harvest is down to less than 145,000 pounds.  Crismale and other Connecticut lobstermen point to pesticides, specifically the chemical-metho-prene as the reason the lobsters are dying. Methoprene is one of 3 chemicals used to control mosquito larva in sewer drains. Recently the state energy and environmental protection agency released a report on die-off that stated the chemical was found in some but not all lobsters tested. And the state agency plans on doing further testing to determine if chemicals or warmer water is the cause of the lobster die-off.  But the CT Commercial Lobstermen Association and Citizens Campaign for the Environment say enough with tests....it's time to devote funding to help clean up the sound. CCE says in the last two years Congress has not re-authorized the Long Island Sound Stewardship and Restoration Act meaning there's been no federal help to update wastewater treatment plants and cut down on polluting Long Island Sound.