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Research & Monitoring

Status and Trends: LISS Environmental Indicators

Lobster Landings

CTDEEP and NYSDEC

Lobster Landings (pounds)
CT NY
1981   807,911   412,248
1982   880,636   478,390
1983 1,653,696   771,332
1984 1,796,509   903,600
1985 1,381,029   891,389
1986 1,253,545 1,108,583
1987 1,528,876    849,864
1988 1,846,826 1,347,619
1989 1,906,790 1,828,460
1990 2,361,859 1,888,795
1991 2,461,046 1,932,940
1992 2,344,315 2,018,036
1993 1,944,482 2,024,181
1994 2,101,814 3,628,985
1995 2,527,179 6,030,851
1996 2,865,556 8,833,665
1997 3,400,742 8,243,152
1998 3,653,875 6,914,672
1999 2,535,012 5,786,555
2000 1,331,404 2,463,368
2001 1,273,528 1,734,796
2002 1,031,684 1,194,685
2003    664,034    754,167
2004    637,673    878,085
2005    708,110    938,948
2006    785,141 1,035,717
2007    568,169    752,293
2008    427,168    511,216
2009    450,547    474,624
2010    402,334    548,035
2011    193,567    109,699
2012    229,715      55,388
2013    121,663      19,436
2014    122,287      17,088
2015  149,833  29,991

WHAT ARE LOBSTER LANDINGS?

The  pounds of lobsters recorded by commercial lobstermen as being  harvested from their traps. Only lobsters above the legal minimum size not carrying eggs are harvested.

WHAT DOES THIS INDICATE?

This indicator is reflective of fishery management practices, socioeconomic conditions, and species population abundance.

STATUS

Beginning in the 1980s, American lobster harvest increased in the Sound, with the peak occurring in 1997. Lobster die-offs in 1999 and 2002, most severely in the western Sound, reduced the harvest to early 1980s-levels. The 2014 harvest is less than one-tenth the average harvest landed in the 1980s, and only about 1% of the peak values observed in the mid 90’s. Scientists concluded that a combination of warmer temperatures and impaired water quality stressed lobsters, making them susceptible to disease and limiting their ability of reproduce, which caused a rapid drop in population size. Increased size restrictions and further limits on catching adult female lobsters were two of the management controls initially put in place to help restore the lobster population, which continued to decline dramatically. In a greater effort to rebuild the lobster stock, New York and Connecticut, in coordination with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, instituted a fall harvest closure beginning in 2013. The plan is to reduce fishing exploitation by 10 percent in order to help restore the population.  While the landings in Connecticut have been relatively stable since 2011, landings in New York have continued to decline, with 2014 the worst year on record.

 

  data note

Total landings for recent years may vary from values previously posted due to data quality corrections. Each state and federal authority submits preliminary annual totals to the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistical Program (ACCSP) database within the following calendar year and is given opportunity to make corrections as more complete data become available.

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