By Livia Albeck-Ripka June 21, 2018
“VINALHAVEN, Me. — At 3:30 in the morning on a Friday in late May, the lobstermen ate breakfast. Outside, their boats bobbed in the labradorite water, lit only by the dull yellow of streetlamps across the bay. It was windy, too windy for fishing, but one by one the island’s fishermen showed up at the Surfside cafe anyway. Over pancakes and eggs, they grumbled about the season’s catch to date.
Some of the lobstermen said it was just too early in the season. Others feared that it was a sign of things to come. Since the early 1980s, climate change had warmed the Gulf of Maine’s cool waters to the ideal temperature for lobsters, which has helped grow Maine’s fishery fivefold to a half-billion-dollar industry, among the most valuable in the United States. But last year the state’s lobster landings dropped by 22 million pounds, to 111 million.
Now, scientists and some fishermen are worried that the waters might eventually warm too much for the lobsters, and are asking how much longer the boom can last.”
DL: Keep reading. The lobster fishermen and women practice a useful conservation rule, notching the tails of pregnant females and throwing them and all small and large(?) lobsters back into the water.
“Lobstering has always been a boom-and-bust business, but the conservation measures long enforced by Maine’s lobstermen may help stave off complete collapse, scientists say.
The lobstermen clip the tails of egg-bearing female lobsters and release them, a practice called V-notching that began voluntarily in the late 19th century and was later mandated by law. They throw back lobsters that already have V-notches, alongside lobsters that are smaller than 3.25 inches or larger than five, measured from the eye socket to the base of the tail. These measures help conserve the brood stock, ensuring that the lobsters continue to repopulate.”