Lobstermen Dispute Conservation Practice
The Associated Press
Tuesday, December 26, 2006; 12:05 PM
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Lobstermen in Rhode Island are debating the practice of
clipping the tails of female lobsters, with some saying stricter regulations
are needed to protect a declining population.
The conflict centers on "v-notching," a conservation method in which a
quarter-inch to half-inch notch is clipped in the tail of a female lobster.
The notch means the lobster must be thrown back into the water so it can
reproduce. The notch becomes smaller as the lobster grows, giving it time to
produce more eggs.
Jody King, a quahogger who sits on the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries
Council, said he supports a "zero-tolerance" policy that would prevent the
harvest of lobsters with notched tails. He said he'd like to "bring back
lobstering to what it was."
"The Southern New England stock is in poor condition," King said. "It is
depleted and at the overfishing threshold. All sources of mortality must be
But there's debate about whether the differing notch sizes would actually
lead to a big difference in the number of lobsters potentially protected.
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