DEEP: Notice to Lobster Dealers, Wholesalers and Retailers

Notice to Lobster Dealers, Wholesalers & Retailers

June 30, 2006

On June 14, 2006, the Department mailed a notice to lobster license holders, dealers, wholesalers and retailers announcing implementation of the 3-5/16 inch minimum legal carapace length for lobsters effective July 1, 2006.

Lobster dealers, wholesalers and retailers can be expected to have lobsters that measure between 3-9/32 and 3-5/16 inches that were legally acquired through June 30, 2006. During the first few weeks of the new minimum length, law enforcement coverage will principally occur on the waters and shores of the state. Dealers, wholesalers and retailers are encouraged to eliminate their inventory of lobsters less than 3-5/16 inches over the next few weeks.

Any lobster acquired from a Connecticut lobster license holder on or after July 1, 2006, must be of 3-5/16 inches or greater carapace length. Possession of any lobster less than the 3-5/16 inches minimum length acquired on or after July 1 will subject the person to enforcement action.

To repeat the notice of June 14, 2006, effective July 1, 2006, no person shall buy, sell, give away, or possess, regardless where taken, any lobster with a carapace (body shell) less than 3-5/16 inches carapace length, except as provided in section 51 of the Public Act 06-187. Such length shall be measured along the length of the carapace parallel to the centerline from the rear end of the eye socket to the rear end carapace.

Section 51 of Public Act 06-187 allows a seafood dealer, wholesaler or shipper to possess and sell lobsters less than 3-5/16 inches provided all the following conditions are met:

1. such lobsters are not taken from Lobster Management Area (LMA) 6 (the waters of Long Island Sound and western Block Island Sound) or landed in Connecticut; and

2. such lobsters are not less than the minimum legal length in the effect for the waters of the LMA, state or country or origin and are not less than 3-1/4 inches carapace length, regardless where taken; and

3. such lobsters are not bartered, exchanged, sold or offered for sale to retail consumers in this state; and

4. the seafood dealer, wholesaler or shipper possesses a manifest, bill of lading, invoice, purchase order or other written documentation identifying the state, lobster management area or country of origin of the lobsters received, the number of lobsters received that are less than LMA 6 minimum length and the date received. The documentation shall be retained for a period of six months and made available to law enforcement officers upon request.

Reminder: while seafood dealers, wholesalers and shippers can possess lobsters less than 3-5/16 inches, for sale outside of Connecticut, fishermen, markets, stores and restaurants selling lobsters to the public must adhere to and not possess or sell lobster less than 3-5/16 inches.

For further information, contact the DEP Marine Fisheries Division at PO Box 719, Old Lyme, CT 06371 or by telephone at 860-434-6043 between the hours of 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. In addition, the Division can be contacted by email at dep.marine.fisheries@po.state.ct.us. (N06-14)