I am neither a scientist nor a fisherman, nor an expert on water pollution, but I have to be a witness to two things: the amount of effluents that flow daily into our seas, and the effort on the part of the current administration and Environmental Protection Agency director to deny that there is any correlation between environmental controls and impacts on our waters.

The waters off southern New England are not supporting lobsters as they once did. Research points to two contributors: warming waters and effluents from such things as lawns that need to be greener.

Catches have been rapidly declining: In Long Island Sound, for example, where there used to be several-million-pound yearly catches, annual catches are now less than 200,000 pounds. Overfishing? Maybe. Too many fishermen? Maybe. Too few people wanting locally caught lobster? Probably not.

Fortunately for fishermen in Maine waters, the lobster harvests have been very strong. Good for the local communities whose income relies on a strong lobster population. Good for the people across the globe (and us local folks) who enjoy a fresh lobster dinner.

But back to the non-scientist part of me who listens to lobstermen with concerns about the conditions of their waters changing. Or who listens to knowledgeable folks from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute who point to rising water temperatures and the amount of effluents that flow into the bays from rivers. The amount of fertilizer carried into Casco and Penobscot bays is having an impact. And the head of the EPA believes that there is no connection between climate change, increased ocean water temperature and water pollution.

Simple question: Do I read the signs from the southern New England fishing experience and the science from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, or listen to the guy from Oklahoma who says there is no correlation?

David Hyde


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