Baby Lobster Decline Could Spell Bad News for Future Maine Catches

4/24/2014 11:59:45 AM

The steady decline of baby lobsters in Maine's coastal waters could mean the end of record catches in recent years, according to a new survey.

Researchers from the University of Maine found fewer than half the number of baby lobsters seen in 2007.

Lobsters take around eight years to mature to legal harvesting size, and fishermen, retailers, marine scientists and state authorities are worried the decline will affect the Maine harvest that brought in 85 percent of U.S. lobsters in 2012.

A baby lobster. (Credit: Flickr/Ipshita Bhattacharya)

A warming ocean, polluted waters and other ecosystem changes are possible reasons for the decline. Scientists note lobsters are especially sensitive to small temperature changes.

Authorities from Maine's Department of Marine Resources said the problem didn't seem to come from overfishing, as some environmentalists say (Patrick Whittle, Associated Press, April 22).

Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. 202-628-6500.

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