The young of New England’s iconic crustacean fall into the right size category. “Black sea bass love little lobsters,” Michael Armstrong, assistant director of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, said.
That’s of deep concern to Beth Casoni, executive director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, who says lobster traps are being pillaged by these fish. They are often hauled up with the bass inside the traps, alongside lobsters they couldn’t fit in their mouths, she said. Even more concerning to Casoni is their alleged habit of picking off undersize lobsters tossed overboard by lobstermen.
Here are just a few pics from Captain John Peabody of the fv LADY CLAIRE - Pt. Judith, RI that he passed along to me. I should point out that John has passed along a number of videos and pictures of what his crew goes through in the late fall and early winter with hordes of BSB stuffing his lobster pots. Note that the first group of day images are from different pots coming up...yes each pot had this many BSB in them on one string!
Further in the story:
Like Massachusetts, Rhode Island is teeming with black sea bass. At certain times of the year, bass taken from Rhode Island waters are found with baby lobsters in their guts, said Jason McNamee, chief of Rhode Island’s Division of Marine Fisheries.
MacNamee’s research indicates black sea bass predation on young lobsters is concentrated in the spring, when fewer other food sources are available to the bass and when the bass and young lobsters cohabitat in stone reefs, wrecks, and other undersea structures.
Later on, after bass mating season, and once other food sources like crab and squid are more bountiful, McNamee said, baby lobsters become less and less evident in bass guts.
So what do you think....Black Sea Bass having a grand old time picking off the SNE lobster population? So why doesn't the fish-crats realize this well noted problem and increase the harvest of BSB?