GUILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Bart Mansi goes out most every day at 4:00 A.M. to tend to his hundreds of lobster pots. What he brings back often depends on what federal regulators allow him to haul in.
These days he doesn’t catch enough to fill the tanks at his Guilford Lobster Pound.
“We used to ship them all over,” said Mansi. “Ship them to Maine, Canada, all over. But now the worm turned and we’re buying from them now.”
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Manzi says lobstermen on Long Island sound once numbered 7-hundred now only about a dozen remain and he’s concerned stricter federal regulations could sink their livelihood even more.
“Unfortunately other states are going to be making decisions for us,”
On Tuesday the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will vote on new rules on harvesting size, seasonal closures to fishing areas, and reducing the number of traps to try to boost the lobster population in southern New England.
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Mansi who is chairperson of the state’s Lobster Committee Management Team plans to fly to Washington tomorrow morning to attend the meeting.
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The proposed changes could affect the legal harvesting size of lobsters, seasonal closures to fishing areas, and a reduction in the number of traps.
“We’re not the problem,” said Mansi.
He believes predators are the real problem. This weekend three people told him something he’s heard dozens of times before.
“Told me Bart you know what we saw in the.. we opened up the Sea Bass that we cleaned and one of them had ten little baby lobsters in there,” said Mansi.
He says he knows how to help the lobster population without hurting lobstermen.
“I would like to see them raise some of the restrictions on the trawlers,” explained Mansi. “Let them catch some of these fish that are eating all our lobster.”
For now though Mansi just hopes the commission will consider his team’s proposal which helps the population by keeping lobstermen off the water for 9 Sundays in July and August and raises the size of the larger lobsters they can keep.
Mansi says there are two people representing Connecticut’s interest on the commission but each one only has half a vote so it equals one vote representing Connecticut and Mansi hopes every vote really does count.