Baby Lobster Numbers Low Off New England as Waters Warm

New data show the population of baby lobsters off New England is below average, raising concerns about the size of future commercial hauls of the valuable crustaceans as waters warm.

The baby lobsters settle at the bottom of the ocean, take shelter, and grow. Members of the fishing industry closely watch trends about lobster settlement because they provide an insight into what the population of adult lobsters, which are trapped by fishermen, could look like in future years.

University of Maine scientist Rick Wahle, who has documented baby lobster density for decades, said a trend of below average settlement numbers in the Gulf of Maine extended into 2021. The gulf stretches from Canada to Cape Cod and is critical to the lobstering business.

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