No East Coast lobster ban - for now By Aaron Smith, staff writer

NEW YORK ( -- A proposed ban on lobstering has been put on ice, at least for the next few months.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission had proposed a five-year moratorium on lobster harvesting along the Atlantic Coast between Cape Cod, Mass. and North Carolina, but on Thursday tabled the ban until fall.

The commission is considering a ban to allow the declining lobster population to recover.

Toni Kerns, senior fishery management plan coordinator at the Commission, said that a committee of biologists will present study results at the follow-up meeting that show how the lobster population would react to three different alternatives: a 50% reduction in harvesting, a 75% reduction, or maintaining the status quo, which is no reduction at all.

Lobstering is currently allowed along the Atlantic Coast, despite the fact that disease killed off large numbers of the crustaceans in Long Island Sound about 10 years ago.

The majority of U.S. lobsters come from Maine, which is not being considered for a ban because the population there is thriving. Lobstermen pulled in a robust 76.3 million pounds in 2009, according to the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the largest harvest in years.  To top of page

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