Lobster Reprieve


Ted Van Pelt/flickr

Last night, southern New England lobstermen (not, of course, all men) were very relieved to be spared the five-year ban that the American Lobster Management Board had been considering because of steep declines in lobster populations from Cape Cod to North Carolina. Fishermen said the ban would destroy their chances to make a living.

The outcome was left pending: at the meeting, reductions in catches of anywhere from 50 to 75 percent were discussed as alternatives, along with maintaining current levels. In a consensus that other wildlife managers might find short-sighted, the Lobster Board members at the meeting, according to a report in the Boston Globe, "eventually reached a consensus to move away from the ban after deciding that closing down a fishery in order to manage it seemed contradictory."

With lobster, as anyone who has read Food Channel contributor Trevor Corson's Secret Life of Lobsters knows, the reasons for rises and falls in the population are more mysteries than simple matters of overfishing. And, as he pointed out in a post last summer on a mysterious surplus of lobsters and lowering of their price, the lobster fishery in the Gulf of Maine has been well managed. (Defining their own turf in a sometimes violent Down East way, as he also chronicled for us, helped in the allocation.)

I don't know as much about the history of the southern New England and Mid-Atlantic management, though I do plan to give my annual thanks for the success of the Gulf of Maine management tomorrow night, when the family members who visit our friend Erika Pilver, in Spruce Head, gorge at our annual birthday feast she very generously hosts in a carnivorous, sometimes violent way that makes spouses (most notably mine, and my vegetarian brother-in-law) and decorous friends cringe and seek shelter from flying bits of shell.

And I know I'll be glad for southern New Englanders like this one the Globe quoted:

Diana Puleston, who has been unloading lobster boats for a decade off Point Judith, said, "If you take this industry away from us, you take the soul right out of the person.''

We'll be looking for further news on what limits the board does vote on, and the always-unpredictable news of lobster fluctuations.

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Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." More

Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." Julia Child once said, "I think he's a very good food writer. He really does his homework. As a reporter and a writer he takes his work very seriously." Kummer's 1990 Atlantic series about coffee was heralded by foodies and the general public alike. The response to his recommendations about coffees and coffee-makers was typical--suppliers scrambled to meet the demand. As Giorgio Deluca, co-founder of New York's epicurean grocery Dean & Deluca, says: "I can tell when Corby's pieces hit; the phone doesn't stop ringing." His book, The Joy of Coffee, based on his Atlantic series, was heralded by The New York Times as "the most definitive and engagingly written book on the subject to date." In nominating his work for a National Magazine Award (for which he became a finalist), the editors wrote: "Kummer treats food as if its preparation were something of a life sport: an activity to be pursued regularly and healthfully by knowledgeable people who demand quality." Kummer's book The Pleasures of Slow Food celebrates local artisans who raise and prepare the foods of their regions with the love and expertise that come only with generations of practice. Kummer was restaurant critic of New York Magazine in 1995 and 1996 and since 1997 has served as restaurant critic for Boston Magazine. He is also a frequent food commentator on television and radio. He was educated at Yale, immediately after which he came to The Atlantic. He is the recipient of five James Beard Journalism Awards, including the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award.

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