The Long Island Sound is facing the first-ever seasonal shutdown beginning Sept. 8 to Nov. 28. This shutdown is the result of a depleting lobster population.
This shutdown applies to both recreational and commercial fisheries. All lobster gear is also required to be removed from the water during this time of closure.
It is allowing fisherman two weeks from the start of the closure period (Sept. 8 to Sept. 21) to remove gear and two weeks prior to reopening (Nov. 15 to Nov. 28) to redeploy gear.
The lobster population has been impacted over the past 15 years by a number of factors, including pesticide residue, diseases and climate changes resulting in warmer water that stresses lobsters. There’s also a growing population of predators to the lobster population, including striped bass, scup and other species.
The shutdown will provide the lobster population an opportunity to rebuild, a requirement from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission seeking to reduce the total lobster harvest by 10 percent in 2013.
This shutdown will seek to rebuild the broad Southern New England lobster stock across the entire New England stock complex (southern Massachusetts to Virginia, including offshore waters).