Cornell Cooperative Extension was recently named the recipient of a community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant, which will fund the identification and removal of derelict lobster traps from the floor of the Long Island Sound.
The grant will also employ up to 45 local lobstermen and restore more than 19,840 acres of marine habitat. To date, 4,960 abandoned lobster pots have been removed from the Sound.
The experience of commercial lobstermen from the area will be employed to remove identified gear from the study site. The condition of retrieved gear, lobsters and other ensnared by-catch will be monitored. All collected gear is recycled through the Fishing for Energy Partnership.
Legis. Sarah Anker was on hand at a press conference at Cedar Beach to support these actions.
“Abandoned, lost or discarded lobster pots and other marine debris have become an increasing concern to the future health of the Sound,” Anker said. “This initiative puts local fishermen back to work while using their expertise to locate the traps. I will continue to advocate for the steady improvement of the Sound’s water quality and marine life."