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Lobster Project Wants $1.1m More Funding

CONNECTICUT The aim to notch 57,700 lobsters, as part of the state's lobster-notching program, was deemed successful this week by officials.

They want to more investment and are asking for a new $1.1 million appropriation for the program.

The project, which teams lobstermen and students at three shoreline marine-studies schools, was made at the Bridgeport Regional Vocational Aquaculture School, says a report in the Connecticut Post.

House Speaker James A. Amman, D-Milford, who supported the first bill two years ago, called the program a worthy educational experience that holds the promise of reviving the state's floundering lobster industry.

Once a $40 million business, lobstermen have suffered a steep decline in trade since a 1999 lobster die-off.

Under the v-notch program, high school students join lobstering crews on their boats to measure and notch the tails of female lobsters. They are then are returned to Long Island Sound. State regulations prohibit lobsters from being harvested until the notch grows out, giving the young lobsters a chance to reproduce.

Nick Crismale, president of the Connecticut Lobster Association, said the program is working well.

"If it doesn't work, there will probably be some federal regulations implemented that will put us out of business," he said.

The program is managed by John Curtis, director of the Aquaculture School. He said the program incorporates many aspects of the specialty school's offerings.

The program has so far used about half to three-quarters of the $1 million it received in 2007. The money provided by the new legislation would keep the program afloat through June 2009.

View the Connecticut Post story by clicking here.