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Governor Continues Funding of Lobster V-Notch Program
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Governor Jodi Rell announced the state would continue to fund a program designed to help Long Island Sound's lobster population recover from a massive 1999 die-off.

The V-notch project was threatened to be shut down when the General Assembly failed to renew it's funding.

According to the Governor, the program has already cost the State about $900,000.  But, she says the benefits of continuing the program, go far beyond Connecticut's Lobstermen, extending to the overall health of Long Island Sound.

The V-Notch project gets its name from the V-Shaped mark notched on the tails of female lobsters.  They are then protected under State Law for two years, and thrown back by lobstermen who catch them.

Eric Smith is the director of marine fisheries for the state Department of Environmental Protection.
He says it takes about 5 or 6 years for a lobster to reach mature size in order to produce a batch of eggs. This means the effect of lobsters notched in 2008 will not be known for a minimum of five years.  

The notching is done by high school students on the vessels of volunteer lobstermen. Smith says this is a match made in heaven.

"We pay them 10 dollars an hour, they notch the lobsters and then they sign the forms verifying that 120 lobsters got notched that day for example."

That number is then tallied, and the lobstermen are compensated at the market rate for each lobster notched and released that day.

Smith says the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is currently conduction a new lobster stock assessment.  If a trend toward recovery isn't seen, Smith says, more restrictive conservation measures might need to be taken.