Massachusetts’ lobster fisherman are land-bound until May 16th, owing to a sizable gathering of endangered North Atlantic right whales in Cape Cod Bay. The whales are prone to becoming entangled in fishing equipment, which can result in injury and require costly wildlife rescue efforts. Ordinarily, lobster season starts at the beginning of the first week in May, and the delay could have financial repercussions for the industry, including price spikes for what’s usually the most profitable time of the year.
“Any type of delay is delaying your first paycheck,” John Haviland of the South Shore Lobster Fishermen’s Association told CBS Boston, suggesting that continued restrictions could put many operations out of business. The earlier the traps are set, the earlier they can be pulled up for processing and sale. The population of North Atlantic right whale in these same fishing areas continues to decline, however, despite occupying a protected status spot on the endangered species list, with fewer than 450 remaining in the wild.
In the future, lobster fishers may be required to track and find their traps via location software and ropeless fishing in order to conserve the whales’ natural (albeit very large) habitat. In the meantime, consider what you’ll pay for a lobster roll this summer.