Information Regarding the Impact of 1999 Lobster Mortalities in Long Island Sound

A lobster die-off was observed in western Long Island Sound in 1998. A similar, more widespread die-off was reported to the DEP and NYDEC by lobster fishers in the fall of 1999. After an extensive sampling program by DEP and NYDEC involving testing of lobster tissue for bacteria, parasites and toxins, and analysis of water and sediment samples, scientists identified a parasite as the probable cause of the lobster mortalities. At this time it is unknown if the parasite, a protozoan known as Paramoeba, is the primary or secondary cause of the mortalities. On February 10, 2000 Governor John G. Rowland requested $20 million in federal disaster assistance from the U.S. Commerce Department for Connecticut’s lobster fishers. In support of the request, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has submitted a report on the extent and impact of the lobster die-off in 1999 to U.S. Commerce Secretary William M. Daley. The report indicates that the 1999 catch by Connecticut’s lobster fishers, who total more than 400, was down by more than 1.2 million pounds from 1998. The industry generates $12 to $15 million annually in Connecticut. The impact of this decrease is compounded by the anticipated shortage of legal lobsters in 2000 and beyond.

1999 Lobster Mortality Summary Report
Printed versions may be obtained from the DEEP Marine Fisheries Office in Old Lyme.

Note: The full report is not available in printed form due to its size (over 200 pages) but is available for viewing in the Public File Room at the DEEP  Headquarters, 79 Elm Street, Hartford.  An additional copy of the entire report may be viewed at the DEEP Marine Fisheries Office in Old Lyme.  Please call the Marine Fisheries Office at 860-434-6043 for availability.

Content Last Updated on March 2000