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Climate Change Brought a Lobster Boom. Now It Could Cause a Bust.

Jun 21, 2018

The New York Times: Lobstering has always been a boom-and-bust business, but the conservation measures long enforced by Maine’s lobstermen may help stave off complete collapse, scientists say.

The lobstermen clip the tails of egg-bearing female lobsters and release them, a practice called V-notching that began voluntarily in the late 19th century and was later mandated by law. They throw back lobsters that already have V-notches, alongside lobsters that are smaller than 3.25 inches or larger than five, measured from the eye socket to the base of the tail. These measures help conserve the brood stock, ensuring that the lobsters continue to repopulate.

A study published this year in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences found that these conservation measures had not only capitalized on the favorable conditions created by climate change but could also save the industry from sharp decline in the future.

“It allowed them to take advantage of the boom, and it’s going to give them some resiliency to the changes that we think are coming,” said Andrew Pershing, the chief scientist at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and a lead author of the study.