Grant will pay lobstermen to remove abandoned traps from Sound

An estimated 260,000 pounds of abandoned lobster traps and other gear will be removed from the Long Island Sound seafloor next spring and summer.

The project, which will employ Long Island lobster fishermen to find and remove the gear, is being funded with $254,282 in grants from the Long Island Sound Futures Fund and Covanta Energy.

Mark Tedesco, director of the Environmental Protection Agency's Long Island Sound Office, said Wednesday that removing the traps and other gear will benefit lobsters, horseshoe crabs and several kinds of fish on both the New York and Connecticut sides of the estuary that can end up stuck in abandoned traps.

Tedesco said the lobstermen will use sonar and their knowledge of where traps have historically been set to find the derelict traps. Many of the traps were abandoned by lobstermen who quit the fishery when lobster numbers declined in the late 1990s.

Metal traps will be recycled, while gear such as ropes and buoys will be taken to Covanta's waste to energy plant in Huntington, Long Island.

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