BAR HARBOR, Maine (AP) — Fishing managers will reach out to the members of the fishing industry before seeking public comment on a proposal to rebuild the southern New England lobster population, an interstate panel decided on Thursday.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission determined it was best to take the additional step before possibly releasing the plan to the public in February. The commission has been working on fishing management measures to preserve the lobsters.
Scientists have said southern New England lobsters are in decline while the species is thriving off the coast of Maine. They have cited factors such as warmer temperatures in some ocean waters.
Lobsters remain readily available to consumers in New England and elsewhere despite the drop.
Management measures detailed in the proposal include strategies such as seasonal closures, reducing the number of lobster traps and changes to the minimum and maximum harvesting sizes of lobsters. How significant the changes will be would be determined at a later date.
Despite the decline of the southern New England lobster population, the species supports one of the most lucrative fisheries in the United States and Canada. The fishery was worth more than a half billion dollars in 2015, when lobster was the highest valued species in the U.S.