New law may bring back lobsters to the Sound

WTNH-- Just over a decade ago, there were more than 1,200 Connecticut lobster men  fishing Long Island Sound. In the late 90s, most of the lobsters in the sound died. So did that industry.

But now, a new law may bring the lobsters and the lobster business back to life.

"I don't know if it's too late. I'm hoping it's not too late.  And I'm hoping there can be a future out in Long Island Sound for us," said Tony Carlo, Commercial Fisherman.

Monday, the last few lobster men left in Connecticut stood with some of the politicians who they say may have saved their industry and the sound.

In 1998, nearly every lobster in Long Island Sound died and they haven't come back.    

A number of studies point to two chemicals used to kill mosquitoes to try to head off West Nile virus. Those chemicals have been routinely dumped into storm drains in both Connecticut and New York and they eventually wind up in the sound.

"The intent of using those chemicals is not a bad intent from the standpoint of trying to make sure that people do not contract West Nile virus. But, because of the fact that they are now being put into our storm drains and ending up in Long Island Sound, we see evidence of the fact that they are now in our lobsters," said Sen. Bob Duff, (D) Norwalk, Darien.

The new Connecticut law makes it illegal for those two mosquito killers to be used.There are other less toxic options.
There is no guarantee if or when the decimated lobster population will come back. But hopes are high the lobsters and the fishermen will return.
And now this group wants to put the pressure on New York to do the same thing on their shore.    

"Long Island Sound deserves this. It's all about Long Island Sound. It's not just about the fishermen, it's about the sound," said Duff.

In 1998, the lobster haul from the sound was 3.7 million pounds, but in 2011, only 142,000 pounds were brought in.

The central and western parts of the Sound have seen the greatest decline, the number of lobsters trapped there has fallen by 99 percent since 1998.

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