Lincoln County News quotes Wahle in report on slow start for lobster fishery

The Lincoln County News quoted Rick Wahle, director of the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, in the article “Cold Spring, Late Molt Lead to Slow Start for Lobster Fishery.” A cold, wet spring and late molt, or shed, appear to have contributed to a reduction in lobster landings so far this year in Lincoln County, the article states. Wahle said there are usually a lot of lobsters around July 4, but the lobster molt did not begin until early August this year. Lobstermen at South Bristol Fishermen’s Co-op are hoping for a second molt and increase in landings to make up for the slow start. A second molt is possible, according to Wahle, who noted that the season is far from over. He said that cooler water temperatures over the summer could also be slowing lobsters’ growth rates and leaving fewer lobsters of legal size, and other factors contributing to a potential slowdown could include the late molt and a general decline in recruitment. Wahle’s lab has been tracking lobster population trends for its American Lobster Settlement Index since 1989, and explained that it’s a “relative measure of the numbers of babies repopulating coastal nurseries each year.” He said his research into lobster larval transport, which involves the effect of ocean currents on the movement of planktonic larvae along the coast, indicates a declining trend in new lobster settlement over the past seven or eight years, according to the article.