An Atlantic States Marine Fisheries report recommends a five-year ban on lobster fishing from south of Cape Cod to North Carolina to allow depleted stocks to recover.
The Lobster Technical Committee says lobster levels in southern New England waters have dropped in 10 years from 35 million to 15 million. The lobster board is set to meet today to discuss possible alternatives, and has asked for an independent review of the report that suggested the moratorium. No final decision will be made for at least three months, after a public comment period.
The ban wouldn't affect the Gulf of Maine or Georges Bank, where the majority of the catch comes from. In southern New England, the number of lobsters taken has dropped 40 percent in the past eight years.
Lobstermen and the Massachusetts Lobstermen's Association blame climate change for the population drop and argue that to some extent lobsters have simply moved into deeper and colder waters.