Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) joined Nick Crismale and Bart Mansi of the Connecticut Commercial Lobstermen Association and Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, to discuss the ongoing lobster decline and the need to increase funding for the Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship programs and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. Their efforts have provided millions of dollars in federal funding which have been used to preserve, restore, and protect the Long Island Sound. Also lending their voice to the cause were State Senator Ed Meyer and State Representatives Lonnie Reed and Pat Widlitz.
"We need to do everything we can to restore lobster levels in the Sound. We all know some of the ways we can improve lobster habitat, including preservation and restoration projects and improvements to wastewater and storm water treatment. We need to continue to fund the restoration efforts for Long Island Sound that help protect the environment and economy of the Sound." said DeLauro.
Connecticut lobstermen have seen a dramatic decrease in the lobster population since 1998 with lobster "landings" -- the amount of lobsters the lobstermen pull from their traps -- dropping from 3.7 million to just 142,000 pounds last year. In 2000, DeLauro helped secure $2.5 million in federal funds to research what was causing the decline in the lobster population.
"The Sound is a critical economic, recreational, and environmental resource for our state. It contributes more than $8.9 billion annually to our state economy, including our commercial lobster industry." continued DeLauro. "These waters are a regional and a national treasure. We have a responsibility to ensure their protection and preservation -- not only for the millions of people living near their shores, but for their children and their children's children."
Over the last ten years, the Long Island Sound Stewardship and Restoration Acts have provided $55.3 million dollars in funding for preservation and restoration efforts on the Sound. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund provided more than $1.4 billion last year to fund water quality protection projects across the country. Congresswoman DeLauro is the Co-Chair of the Long Island Sound Caucus in the US House of Representatives.