WCSH interviews Wahle about Gulf of Maine lobster population

WCSH (Channel 6 in Portland) spoke with Rick Wahle, a research professor at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center, about concern over whether the state’s record lobster catches can be sustained. Wahle said warmer water in the Gulf of Maine has been one factor in the big jump in lobster landings, as well as a reduction in the number of predators and conservation efforts. However, Wahle said the annual lobster settlement survey, which he began several decades ago, shows there are fewer juvenile lobsters settling on the ocean bottom. “The question is how long will this big surge last? And the indicators based on the settlement index is there may be a downturn coming and those indicators are pretty widespread,” he said. “We are concerned about the potential for decline. We’re seeing, and have seen for the past six or seven years, widespread declines in settlement.” Mount Desert Islander also cited UMaine predictions in an article on a commercial lobster and crab license waiting list. The 2017 UMaine forecast shows lobster landings declining slowly over the next decade, the article states.