A dramatic drop in the number of lobsters between Buzzards Bay and the Long Island Sound has officials mulling a five-year fishing ban, says the Cape Cod Times. Scientists blame rising water temperatures on the reduced catch of 5 million pounds last year, down from 20 million in 1997.
Lobsters will avoid areas of the ocean where temperatures consistently top 66 degrees and, since 1999, temperatures south of the Cape have topped 68 degrees for 65 to 75 days each year. Though the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering a five-year ban to allow the lobsters time to repopulate, some experts, like Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association chair Bill Adler, are skeptical, claiming that if the problem is a change in water temperature, banning fishing won’t make much of a difference and will put people out of jobs to boot.
Cape Lobster Industry Faces Crisis [Cape Cod Times]