Lobster catch headed for decline, not crash, scientists say

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A pair of studies by Maine-based scientists suggest the U.S. lobster industry is headed for a period of decline, but likely not a crash.

Lobster fishermen have brought in record hauls this decade. The new studies were both published by University of Maine scientists. They show a fishery in which warming waters have changed the dynamics of the lobster population.

Noah Oppenheim is the author of one of the studies. He says his model projects the lobster catch in the Gulf of Maine “will return to previous historical levels.” That means tens of millions fewer pounds of lobster per year.

Oppenheim and colleagues base their opinion on a finding that temperature and the number of young lobsters populating shallow coastal areas allow scientists to predict what lobster catches will look like in four to six years.

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