DEEP: Lobster V-Notch Restoration Update

Lobster V-Notch Restoration Update

March 12, 2008

November 2007 marked the official start of the Lobster Restoration Program for Long Island Sound (LIS). This program was funded by the Connecticut General Assembly in the amount of $1.0 million and is intended to help restore the population of lobsters in Long Island Sound while providing economic assistance to lobstermen who volunteer to participate in the program.

          To date, over 16,000 mature female lobsters (3-1/16 and greater in carapace length) have been v-notched and released in LIS and $83,000 in reimbursements has been paid to lobstermen participating in the program. Most of the v-notching activity to date has occurred east of the Connecticut River. Currently there are eight license holders who have qualified to participate in the Eastern basin and only four in the Central basin and two in the Western basin.

          In order to prevent an increase in the minimum legal length in Lobster Management Area 6 (which includes Long Island Sound), as required by the ASMFC Lobster Fishery Management Plan, the program needs to v-notch and release approximately 75,000 females by July 1, 2008. To successfully reach the target number of v-notched females, more participating lobstermen are needed, particularly in the Central and Western Basins. Each of the three schools involved in the program has up to 10 two-person student teams trained and prepared to take trips aboard commercial vessels to v-notch. These students are employed through the program and are paid to join commercial lobstermen during their routine harvest trips to v-notch female lobsters. We are looking for license holders who fish ~100 or more traps in a day to join the v-notch program in order to ensure that the cost of assigning two workers on a trip is worth the number of lobsters likely to be notched.

          If you are interested in participating by having student v-notch teams on board your vessel, its not too late to sign-up and be a part of the restoration effort. The funding for this program will allow v-notching to continue until bottom water temperatures reach ~68oF (20oC) which typically occurs in late July.

For further information about the program or to sign up to have student teams onboard your vessel and to contribute to the V-Notch Restoration Program, please contact Colleen Giannini at the DEP Marine Fisheries Division, at 860.434.6043 or by emailing colleen.giannini@ct.gov.  (N08-08)