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The Washington Post reports that “over the past decade, the lobster boom (of Long Island Sound) has gone almost completely bust. The die-off has been so severe -- a 70 to 90 percent drop since 1998, according to scientists and state estimates -- that hundreds of lobstermen have been forced out of business. Unable to make a living in waters once as rich as bisque with crustaceans, many have had no choice but to abandon a trade that amounted to more of a cherished lifestyle than a job.

“As the old lobstermen culture of Connecticut withers, desperate fishermen are hanging up their rubber waders to become boat mechanics, plumbers and landscapers. Some have declared bankruptcy. Others have sold their boats and houses in desperation, moving away. A few…have stayed on, trying to earn a hardscrabble existence from the pitiful catch that remains.”

Numerous possibilities are cited as possible reasons for the death of so many lobsters, but the two most prominent are pesticides – which were sprayed on the nearby coasts of New York and Connecticut in order to reduce the number of mosquitoes – and global warming, which is raising the temperature of Sound waters beyond the point where lobsters can tolerate it. In addition, increased storm activity may have affected the sound’s oxygen levels.

Supporters of the global warming theory suggest that record lobster levels in Maine support their belief – that the much colder waters there actually have warmed to the point where they are optimum for lobster propagation and, therefore, harvesting.
KC's View:
The town where I’ve lived for almost a quarter-century happens to be home to a family of lobstermen who used to have three lobster boats; we would often see them heading out into the sound, and there was a certain comfort in knowing that what they were harvesting would be sold in their local store and eaten in just a short time. Now, the Post notes, they’ve sold off one boat and refitted another one for clamming. And the real shame of it is that they now have to augment their own catch with Maine lobsters.

Ironic, huh? At a time when we’re all talking about producing, selling and eating “local” food in order to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint and thus begin to counteract the effects of climate change, global warming actually is forcing some people to not eat locally harvested food.