American Oceans

Over 1000 Abandoned Lobster Traps Removed From Long Island Sound

a stack of lobster traps

The Lobster Trap Recovery and Assessment Partnership (L-TRAP) has successfully removed 1,178 abandoned lobster traps from the Connecticut waters of Long Island Sound. This project is a collaborative conservation effort between various organizations, including The Maritime Aquarium, Save the Sound, Project Oceanology, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, among others.

These abandoned traps attract various marine animals, such as lobsters, crabs, and fish, which become trapped and either die or attract larger predators. As a result, marine life populations can suffer a decline. The derelict traps can also disrupt bottom habitats, interfere with navigation, and contribute to pollution as plastic coatings on the gear break down.

Remarkable progress has already been made in this joint effort, with 57 out of 95 federally funded trips completed. The project has recovered over 10,000 animals from these ghost traps, some alive and some dead. Aspects of this operation include collaboration between the fishing industry and ecologists to help enhance the efficiency of the cleanup process.

The goal of the L-TRAP project is not only to restore the ecosystem of Long Island Sound but also to learn about its history and the impact of these abandoned traps on marine life. The traps have undoubtedly affected various aspects of the marine ecosystem, including fisheries, crustaceans, and coastal communities. By removing these traps, the partnership aims to improve the environment for both marine life and the coastal communities that rely on a healthy ecosystem for their livelihoods.

Fisheries like the $12 million lobster industry in Connecticut have already been severely affected by the massive die-off of lobsters and other environmental concerns. The ongoing efforts to mitigate the impact of these ghost traps is a significant step in the recovery of Long Island Sound’s marine life and the well-being of the commercial fishing industry.

The cooperation of various organizations, commercial harvesters, and government agencies has been crucial in the progress of the L-TRAP project. Their joint commitment to marine conservation results in tangible improvements in the ecosystem and provides a foundation for future collaborative efforts to protect Long Island Sound and other coastal ecosystems.

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