CT lobstermen facing challenges - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT lobstermen facing challenges

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Connecticut lobster men said the number of lobsters locally area increasing. (WFSB) Connecticut lobster men said the number of lobsters locally area increasing. (WFSB)
NEW LONDON, CT (WFSB) -

Connecticut's Congressional Delegation wants to make sure that Connecticut Lobster Fishermen get their two cents in before they change any fishing plans for Southern New England. 

Lobster fishermen, fighting for survival, are being asked to speak up before federal regulators make a new lobster management plan for Southern New England. 

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and the Connecticut Congressional Delegation want the local lobster industry to survive long-term.  But, lobstermen said new regulations could put them out of business at a time they see lobster catches growing.

"Our records indicate it went up for the last three years not a lot, but a little bit,” Ted Whipple, who is a lobster buyer, said.  

Whipple said despite what government regulators claim, lobster fishing is improving. On Wednesday, he caught some six-pound monsters off Georgia's bank and the wholesale price as of today is $12 per pound.

Whipple said putting more regulations on lobster fishermen in Southern New England will kill the industry.

"My input is I think they should leave it alone and let the regulations they put in place the last few years take effect you know,” Whipple said. 

The Atlantic State's Marine Fisheries Commission wants to impose a new lobster management plan for Southern New England stock to improve the health of the lobsters in Connecticut.

But, Connecticut's Congressional Delegation said they want to hear from the fishermen first who see the fishing stock improving in the Long Island Sound and beyond with existing regulations.

"I've been seeing signs of these guys catching more, but the state is saying no I'm wrong,” Whipple said.  “Someone is wrong here."

In a letter from Murphy to the commission and backed by Connecticut’s leaders in Washington, Murphy wrote: "we see firsthand that the health of Long Island Sound and the bounty of marine life that call it home directly affect the long-term sustainability of our fishing industry.” 

The Connecticut Delegation said they urge the commission to closely consider the opinions of all who work in this industry.

"I'm probably the biggest Connecticut buyer and we keep a record. We have to log it per the state and our records indicate it went up for the last three years,” Whipple said. “It went up not a lot but a little bit."

Eyewitness News has learned that when and where Connecticut lobstermen are told to speak, they will do that rather than give up. 

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