CTDEEP and NYSDEC
|Lobster Landings (pounds)|
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.
This indicator is reflective of fishery management practices, socioeconomic conditions, and species population abundance.
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.
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.