This research shows that natural factors, such as the region’s warm waters and parasites, are more likely causes of low lobster yields, while pesticide exposure is too low to have an impact. In fact, the Long Island Sound’s warm waters are marginal for American Lobsters, being the southernmost portion of its habitat.
In addition, the 1999 lobster die off followed years of unusually high lobster catch (also known as “landings”), and current catch levels are more akin to historic levels. It may be overfishing, or just an anomaly that allowed lobstermen to do unusually well for a few years in the 1990s. It’s not reasonable to expect that to continue forever.
West Nile risks for people are surely more important than risks of pesticides to lobsters or public health. Last year, the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus caused a record number of deaths and the second highest number of cases (deaths and illnesses combined). In addition, West Nile can produce permanently debilitating neurological diseases.
Unfortunately, these two examples reflect a larger trend. With each passing year, regulators and lawmakers continue to restrict use of valuable tools that local public health officials need to fight dangerous pest-transmitted diseases. As their arsenal gets smaller, we can expect that more people will get sick.
Angela Logomasini, Ph.D., is a senior fellow for the Independent Women’s Forum and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.