Lobster depletion could lead to more regulations, more worries for lobstermen

NORWALK, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s debatable as to what exactly is causing the decline in the lobster population found in Long Island Sound, but now a governing body of states that regulate fishing along the East Coast are trying to increase that population.

At one time there were 16 lobster boats docked in Norwalk. Now only one remains, belonging to Mike Kalaman. After four decades of lobster fishing in the Sound, Kalaman knows the industry better than most and fears more regulations will force him out of business.

“We feel we’re being run over here and it’s just not fair,” Kalaman said. “It’s just not fair.”

From 3.5 million pounds down to 200,000, the Connecticut lobster harvest has declined dramatically since the late 1990’s. An inter-state agency named, The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, is considering a couple regulations to increase reproduction; including shortening the harvest season and allowing lobster to grow larger before they’re scooped out of the Sound.

The whole premise of the interstate council is to add to the lobster population which they say is depleted. But Kalaman’s argument is that some of their methods of fishing are actually adding to the lobster population. He said they fill lobster traps with up to ten pounds of herring that Keeps lobster in the area close to an easy food source.

“Stopping us from fishing, we take the food source away from the biomass,” Kalaman said. “They eventually will just leave the area.”

The Commission will meet Tuesday in Old Lyme and next week in Derby. A final decision will come in a couple months.

“We eat, live and breathe this place 365, seven days a week,” Kalaman said. “We’re the boots on the ground. And we just get so frustrated with them overrunning us.”

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