AP reports on Wahle’s American Lobster Settlement Index update

The Associated Press reported the number of young lobsters is declining in the Gulf of Maine despite years of record-breaking harvests, according to University of Maine marine scientist Rick Wahle. Wahle quantifies the population of baby lobsters in the Gulf at monitoring sites in New England and Canada every year. His American Lobster Settlement Index, released this month, shows monitoring sites from New Brunswick to Cape Cod had some of the lowest levels since the late 1990s or early 2000s, the AP reported. The decline in baby lobsters represent an “early warning” of what might happen to the future of the lobster harvest, which is the source of a major fishery and a focus of the tourism industry in New England, Wahle said. Lobsters take several years to grow to legal harvesting size, so the drop in young lobsters would start to affect lobstermen in future years, he said. “If we were to see a collapse in the lobster catch, it would mean that we’re already seven to eight years into a decline in the population,” Wahle said. ABC News, WABI (Channel 5), The Toronto Star and The Chronicle Herald of Nova Scotia carried the AP report. Mainebiz and The Science Times also reported on the American Lobster Settlement Index update.