The status of the lobstering industry
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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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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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All about Lobsters East

  • Habitat

  • Anatomy

  • Factors Affecting lobsters

  • Growth rates/Reproduction

  • Myths and facts

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The Lobster Fishery East

  • 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 Historic Lobstering

  • The decline

  • The fishing plight

  • The results

  • More fishing Tales

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Current Regulations Historic Lobstering

  • 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: Historic Lobstering

  • “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 Historic Lobstering

  • Stationary Gears

  • Dredging/Filling

  • Agricultural/Urban runoff

  • Direct Discharge

  • Exotic Species Intro.

Efh essential fish habitat l.jpg
EFH ( Historic LobsteringEssential 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 Historic Lobstering

  • “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” Historic Lobstering

  • 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 Historic Lobstering

  • 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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2000 EVENTS Historic Lobstering

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 Historic Lobstering

  • 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)

Slide31 l.jpg

Monthly population percentages of lobsters with shell diseases collected

in eastern Long Island Sound waters 1998-2001.

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LIS CMP (1994) diseases collected“7 critical issues:”

  • Low Dissolved Oxygen, “Hypoxia”

  • Toxic contamination

  • Pathogen contamination

  • Floatable debris

  • Living Resources/Habitat Mgmt.

  • Land Use/Development

  • Public involvement/education

What did they look at as potential causes l.jpg
What did they look at as potential causes? diseases collected

  • 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 diseases collected

  • 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 diseases collected

  • (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? diseases collected

  • “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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Summary diseases collected

  • Final thoughts of future Marine Habitat and Species Protection

  • Governmental vs. Non-profit vs. Educational facilities


  • EDUCATION!!!!!!


Palynch@gw dec state ny us l.jpg diseases collected

NYSDEC - Region 1

Marine Habitat Protection

Building 40 SUNY

Stony Brook, NY 11790