Monday, July 21, 2008

The V-Notch Program is Protecting the Sound's Female Lobsters

How well is the v-notch program to help restore Long Island Sound's lobster population working, you ask? (Actually, I asked, here.) Pretty well, it seems.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has planned to increase the size of lobsters that can be taken legally, by 1-16th of an inch, starting August 1. But because the v-notch program has been more effective than thought, the commission postponed the increase, according to this report:

A program aimed at restoring the lobster population in Long Island Sound is working well enough to keep the current minimum legal size for lobsters taken by fishermen, environmental protection officials said Monday.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission had planned to increase the current size by 1/16 of an inch on Aug. 1. But that will be held off for at least one year because of the V-notch program, where the tails of mature female lobsters have a "v" cut into them before they're released back into the water.

The mark protects them from harvest for about two years, giving them time to grow and reproduce.

Fishermen from Connecticut and New York returned the equivalent of more than 58,000 mature female lobsters between December 2007 and July 2008. That's more than 100 percent of the goal established for the first year of the program.

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