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The Status of the Lobstering Industry. Pamela A.E. Lynch. Homarus americanus. INVERTEBRATE!!!!!!! Phylum: Arthropoda Sub Phylum: Crustacea Class: Malacostraca Order: Decapoda. LOCATION. Where found? “Inshore species” 0 - 50 km “Inshore species” 40 m max. depth “Offshore species” 50+ km

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The Status of the Lobstering Industry

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The status of the lobstering industry l.jpg

The Status of the Lobstering Industry

Pamela A.E. Lynch

Homarus americanus l.jpg

Homarus americanus


  • Phylum: Arthropoda

  • Sub Phylum: Crustacea

  • Class: Malacostraca

  • Order: Decapoda

Location l.jpg


  • Where found?

  • “Inshore species” 0 - 50 km

  • “Inshore species” 40 m max. depth

  • “Offshore species” 50+ km

  • “Offshore species” 100-600 m max. depth


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Long Island is the 3rd largest Lobster producing area on the East

Coast, behind Maine and Mass.

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All about Lobsters

  • Habitat

  • Anatomy

  • Factors Affecting lobsters

  • Growth rates/Reproduction

  • Myths and facts

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The Lobster Fishery

  • 5 main lobster production states in U.S. : Maine, RI, Mass., NY and NJ

  • “Traps” are most popular

  • Year round fishery, but some data shows most pressure in June/July (molting time)

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Historic Lobstering

  • 15th Century Monsters

  • 1800’s rise

  • Permits and Regulations

  • Industry

  • Fishing Tales

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Current Lobstering

  • The decline

  • The fishing plight

  • The results

  • More fishing Tales

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Current Regulations

  • Sustainable Fisheries Act

  • Magnuson - Stevens Act

  • EFH (Essential Fish Habitat) as set forth by the National Marine Fisheries Service

  • Old and New additions


  • Finfish and Crustaceans Unit, NYSDEC Region 1

  • Survey Cards

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Magnuson - Stevens Act:

  • “One of the greatest long-term threats to the viability of commercial and recreational fisheries is the continuing loss of marine, estuarine, and other aquatic habitats. Habitat considerations should receive increased attention for the conservation and management of fishery resources of the U.S.” 1996

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Habitat Alteration by Fishing

  • Stationary Gears

  • Dredging/Filling

  • Agricultural/Urban runoff

  • Direct Discharge

  • Exotic Species Intro.

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EFH (Essential Fish Habitat)

  • “Overfishing is the DOMINANT cause of fisheries decline, both recreationally and commercially, but we must also consider gear use, habitat changes and habitat loss impacts.” 1996

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Sustainable Fisheries Act

  • “A national program for the conservation and management of the fishery resources of the U.S. is necessary to prevent overfishing, to rebuild overfished stocks, to insure conservation, to facilitate long-term protection of essential fish habitats, and to realize the full potential of the nation’s fishery resources” 1996

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Other Regulatory ”Ideas”

  • Closed areas/seasons, 1994 License Moratorium

  • Larger females

  • Limit of entry

  • Trap number

  • “V” notching

  • Boat buy backs

  • Biodegradable Traps

  • Reduce Effort Overall

  • Aquaculture

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Lobster Disease

  • History

  • 1920’s fishing impoundments lead to Gaffkemia

  • Research

  • Results

  • Where are we now?

  • What will the impacts be to the industry?

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1. What has happened?

2. Mosquito Spraying? (Methoprene, Malothion and cis, trans Resmethrin)

3. State of the LI Sound?

4. Designated Research?

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2 separate lobster diseases identified

  • Western Sound: “Paramoebiasis” caused by a bi-nucleated Parameoba sp. that ingests nervous tissue

  • Eastern Sound: “Shell Rot Syndrome” caused by a bacterial infection (micro-organisms attack Chitin shell)

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Monthly population percentages of lobsters with shell diseases collected

in eastern Long Island Sound waters 1998-2001.

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LIS CMP (1994)“7 critical issues:”

  • Low Dissolved Oxygen, “Hypoxia”

  • Toxic contamination

  • Pathogen contamination

  • Floatable debris

  • Living Resources/Habitat Mgmt.

  • Land Use/Development

  • Public involvement/education

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What did they look at as potential causes?

  • Sewage and treatment plants, dredging, pesticide usage, West Nile Virus, weather patterns, thermal changes (2 degrees C 1997-2000), Plum Island facility, introduced agents, anthropogenic disturbances, toxicology (metals), water chemistry, benthic contaminants, DO, Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), Ammonia levels etc.

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Catch Loss

  • 1998: 7.9 million lbs.

  • 1999: 6.5 million lbs.

  • 2000: 3 million lbs.

  • 2001: similar trend to 2000

  • Declared to be “a commercial fishery failure on the Sound.” NYSDEC, 2000

2001 events l.jpg

2001 Events

  • (Newsday, July): “The US Dept. of Commerce approved s $3.65 million dollar financial assistance program for fishermen…for new job training, direct payment of losses, new gear changes, boat buy-backs.”

  • Congress Total = $13.9 million

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Lobstermen’s Impacts: What about the “Human Ecosystem?

  • “Fishing is NOT an occupation, but a commitment and interdependence to the marine environment.”

  • Lobstering is NOT just a job.”

  • Impacts: Social, economic, re-location, psychological, physiological (stress, anxiety, alcoholism), Family (children, divorce), employment etc.

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  • Final thoughts of future Marine Habitat and Species Protection

  • Governmental vs. Non-profit vs. Educational facilities


  • EDUCATION!!!!!!


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[email protected]

NYSDEC - Region 1

Marine Habitat Protection

Building 40 SUNY

Stony Brook, NY 11790


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