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For Release: Thursday, August 8, 2013

Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation to Allow Sale of Oversized Lobsters in New York State While Protecting Lobster Fishery

Effective August 30, 2013, the sale of oversized lobsters legally caught outside New York State will be allowed under the New York State law, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. Currently, it is illegal to sell lobsters larger than five and one-quarter inches even when the lobsters have been legally landed in other states or countries.

"Achieving a compromise that supports New York's seafood and restaurant industries is important for the economy while we allow the natural environment to restore New York's lobster fishery," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "By allowing the possession and sale of oversized lobsters, we are supporting our seafood dealers and restaurants while preserving New York's lobster fishery."

Although New York's lobster fishery has been depleted by environmental impacts, such as warming waters and low oxygen in the water, lobster continue to thrive elsewhere. The new legislation permits licensed dealers to purchase or sell properly-tagged oversized lobsters that have been legally landed, allowing seafood markets, grocery stores and restaurants to sell these "jumbo" lobsters. Lobsters landed in New York are still required to measure between three and three-eighths inches and five and one-quarter inches if they will be sold.

"This new law is a positive move forward not only for New York businesses and its economy, but also for seafood lovers," said Mike Jordan, Owner of Island Park's Jordan Lobster Farms. "It removes a significant roadblock for small businesses, including restaurants and seafood dealers, and our customers will appreciate the new stock of lobster that we'll now be able to offer here in New York."

The new law also established a September 8 through November 28 closed season for lobster harvest and landings from Lobster Conservation Management Area (LCMA) 6, which is comprised of Long Island Sound.

"Lobster fishing has long been a valued part of the Long Island economy and this legislation will play a critical role in helping to revitalize the declining lobster population," said Senator Lee Zeldin. "I thank the DEC for actively supporting this bill and for their work to ensure that the lobster population remains viable for generations to come."

"This legislation will keep the lobster industry competitive, which is vitally important to the local economy," said Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg. "A thriving industry will aid local small business owners and create jobs."

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Lobster Management Board approved Addendum XVII to Amendment 3 of the American Lobster Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) in February, 2012. The Addendum establishes area-specific management measures for LCMAs (2, 3, 4, 5, and 6) as the first step in initiating Southern New England stock rebuilding. The objective of the amendment is to decrease the lobster harvest in Southern New England by 10 percent to initiate the rebuilding of lobster stock.

In February of this year, DEC implemented emergency regulations closing LCMA 4, which includes New York waters off the south shore of Long Island. This rule, officially adopted in June, prohibits the harvest and landing of lobsters from LCMA 4 from February 1 through March 31. For more information on the adoption of this closed lobster season, see DEC's June press release.

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