In 1999, the Long Island Sound lobster fishery suffered a significant mortality event, following 2 years of smaller, more localized, die-offs. A national research initiative investigating the potential cause(s) of the mortalities was undertaken under the auspices of the Steering Committee for Lobster Disease Research, a subcommittee of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Lobster Management Board. More than 20 research efforts investigated the effects of anthropogenic and environmental stressors and disease on lobsters over a 3-year period. The findings of the collective projects were synthesized and presented publicly in October 2004. Lobsters, at an all-time high abundance, and possibly already infected with parasitic amoebae, Neoparamoeba pemaquidensis, were subjected to sustained, stressful environmental conditions, driven by above average water temperature. Physiologically weakened and unable to fend off disease (paramoebiasis), many lobsters died.
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Vol. 24 • No. 3