Governor Rell: Funding for ‘V-Notch’ Lobster Restoration Program Will Carry Over
Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced that $90,000 in funding will be carried over into the next Fiscal Year to continue the state’s lobster stock restoration program. The funding, associated with the $1 million restoration effort, was to lapse on June 30, the last day of Fiscal 2008. More than $900,000 has already been committed by the state toward the program.
“Since Colonial times, Connecticut has had a long and proud maritime history that continues today with our shellfish and groundfish industries,” Governor Rell said. “Generation after generation of lobster fishermen has grown up on the waters of Long Island Sound, supporting their families and the local economy with back-breaking work and they deserve all of the support we can provide. This funding will continue important resource restoration work already underway.”
In the fall of 2007, lobstermen, three high schools with marine vocational or aquaculture programs, the University of Connecticut’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Department of Environmental Protection initiated the state’s “Lobster Stock Restoration Program,” also known as the V-notch program.
The V-notch program is designed to place student teams from the three schools – Bridgeport Regional Vocational Aquaculture School, The Sound School Regional Vocational Aquaculture Center in New Haven and the Ella T. Grasso Technical High School in Groton – aboard vessels participating in the program to mark one of the tail flippers of mature female lobsters with a “v”-shaped notch and then return them to the waters of the Sound.
Under current law, possession of v-notch lobsters is prohibited. The lobstermen carrying the student teams are compensated at the market rate for lobsters released on the day that they are notched.
“This program is a creative and proactive way of rebuilding lobster stocks in the Sound without having to resort to regulatory size increases that further harm our struggling commercial lobster fishery,” Governor Rell said. “The benefits of continuing this program go far beyond Connecticut’s current lobstermen. They extend to the future health of lobster stocks in the Sound and all other marine resources.
“Joining Connecticut lobstermen on their vessels are the next generation of environmental stewards,” the Governor said. “While only high school students now, these young people are poised to lead future efforts to protect and preserve the Sound’s resources. This program has not only provided a great opportunity for these students to connect their classroom learning with the practical aspects of resource protection, it has also allowed them to forge a connection with fishermen that can help round out their education by sharing their lifetime of experiences on the water.”