Gov’t Is Wiping Out the Lobster Population, But Blaming the Fishermen
Lobstermen along much of the New England coast breathed sighs of relief the morning of August 9, when they awoke to discover that, contrary to expectations, a regulatory commission decided not to impose new limits on lobster catches from New Hampshire to Connecticut.
Despite this momentary breather, though, the threat of future arbitrary traps looms. But the decrease in lobsters along the New England coast is not the result to over-fishing — it’s all thanks to previous “feel good” government regulations.
The meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission took place August 8. Not in New England, of course, where the lobstermen and their primary clients live and work, but in — yeah, you guessed it — Washington, D.C.. which is a good indicator of what’s seriously wrong with the regulatory schema ruling most of the New England fishermen and lobstermen, and the natural resources on which they depend.
Many prognosticators and spectators had expected the commission to create new rules regarding the number of traps, the harvest size, and the open periods for lobster fisheries.
For many years, reporters have noted the decrease in the lobster catch and the number of lobstermen working along the coast of New England, and blamed the easy culprit of “over-fishing.”
But this excuse is odd to those familiar with lobstering technology, because it has not become so efficient in recent years that a handful of lobster magnates could overfish while many of their competitors withered on the proverbial vine.