But today’s papers bring troubling news of these tasty delights. Birth rates for Rhode Island’s lobsters are lower than usual, and many fishermen believe the culprit is a chemical being intentionally put in the state’s storm drains. Altosid, a pesticide used to control mosquito populations, may also be killing off lobster larvae.
The lobstermen argue that Maine is the only East Coast fishery where the lobster population is at acceptable, sustainable levels because, unlike other East Coast fisheries, Maine bans the use of methoprene and larvicides in its waters. Maine is also the only fishery where the lobster population does not suffer from shell disease. In all the other fisheries, Rhode Island included, lobster birth rates are noticeably below normal.
So much for our dreams of baked stuffed lobster and lobster bisque. Crab dishes may also be limited this season: Maryland recently joined Virginia in proposing a decrease in the number of blue crabs allowed to be caught in Chesapeake Bay. The proposals hope to bolster suffering crab populations in the bay, but may leave some diners feeling awfully crabby about the lack of succulent, local seafood.
From an article in today’s Washington Post:
The reasons for this collapse include a constellation of the Chesapeake’s trouble. Algae blooms, feeding on pollution from farms and cities, rob the water of oxygen. A warmer climate threatens the grasses that shelter baby crabs. And for years watermen have been catching an unhealthy amount of the crab stock.
OK, so maybe the summer may not be brimming with lobster rolls and crab salads. But there are plenty of other things to enjoy — the beach, barbeques, scantily clad gals in bikinis. And if you really need your seafood fix, check out Environmental Defense’s list of sustainable options.
Story by Sarah Parsons. This article originally appeared in Plenty in April 2008. The story was added to MNN.com in July 2009.
Copyright Environ Press 2008