August 2, 2017

Resolution on Lobster Rolls through Senate

U.S. Senate Passes Resolution Designating September 25, 2017, as “National Lobster Day”

WASHINGTON, DC – In recognition of the historic and economic importance of the lobster industry to Rhode Island and other coastal states, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a resolution designating Monday, September 25, 2017 as “National Lobster Day.”  The resolution, cosponsored by U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and seven New England colleagues, invites lobster lovers to mark their culinary calendars for the last Monday in September.

“This is a fitting tribute to our local lobstermen and women and the important economic impact lobsters have on Rhode Island’s economy.  As consumer demand for sustainably harvested, wild-caught New England lobsters continues to grow, ‘National Lobster Day’ offers an opportunity to celebrate and appreciate an industry that supports hundreds of Rhode Island families and helps bring tourists to the area to enjoy delicious, freshly caught lobster and seafood,” said Senator Reed.  “It will also help showcase Rhode Island’s culinary diversity and boost sales.  Whether you enjoy lobster fresh off the boat, or with fresh-made pasta, Rhode Island offers plenty of ways to join the celebration.”

“National Lobster Day is a great time to remember that the lobsters caught off of Rhode Island are some of the best on the East Coast, and we’re fortunate to have no shortage of first-rate restaurants to serve them up,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “Although warming seas have contributed to the reduction of our lobster landings by half in the last twenty years, I’ll continue to do everything in my power to make sure lobstermen and other Rhode Island fishermen, who make enormous contributions to the local economy, will continue to find healthy stocks off our coast and be able to call Rhode Island ports home for decades to come.” 

Reed and Whitehouse were joined in introducing the bipartisan resolution by fellow New England Senators Angus King (I-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Edward Markey (D-MA).

Lobster fishing has served as an economic engine and a family tradition in the United States for centuries, helping to support the livelihoods of thousands of families through fishing, processing, and shipping. Nearly 150 million pounds of lobster are caught each year in U.S waters, representing one of our country’s most valuable catches.

According to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), lobster typically ranks as Rhode Island’s second most valuable commercial fishery, behind squid.  Lobster landings in Rhode Island in 2015 totaled 2.5 million pounds. 

As reported lobster populations have declined in Southern New England, Senators Reed and Whitehouse have made support for the Rhode Island lobster fishing industry a priority in Congress.  They helped secure $475,000 in federal funds to support research projects aimed at improving the sustainability of local fisheries.  The federal funding helps the Rhode Island-based Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation (CFRF) continue its successful “On-Deck Data Program.”  Comprised of 14 fishing vessels, this program allows local lobstermen to use tablet computers and electronic calipers to collect and transmit real time data on their catch and share it with researchers and state and federal officials studying the lobster and Jonah crab populations in Narragansett Bay and the southern Gulf of Maine to Hudson Canyon.  The data collected is helping to develop an evidence-based management plan for the fishery before it becomes overexploited.  Senator Reed also helped secure $190,000 in federal funding for the same program in 2014.

The “National Lobster Day” resolution text follows:

RESOLUTION

Designating September 25, 2017, as “National Lobster Day”.

    Whereas the American lobster is recognized around the world as a prized and flavorful culinary delicacy;

    Whereas lobster fishing has served as an economic engine and family tradition in the United States for centuries;

    Whereas thousands of families in the United States make their livelihoods from lobster fishing and processing;

    Whereas, with approximately 150,000,000 pounds of lobster landed each year in the United States, at an annual value of more than $500,000,000, lobster represents one of the most valuable catches in the United States;

    Whereas foreign markets for lobster from the United States are booming, with export values having nearly tripled since 2005;

    Whereas historical lore notes that lobster likely joined turkey on the table at the very first Thanksgiving feast in 1621;

    Whereas responsible lobstering practices beginning in the 1600s have created one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world;

    Whereas 2017 marks the 145th anniversary of lobster conservation efforts in the United States, starting with a Maine law banning the harvest of egg-bearing females;

    Whereas, throughout history, United States Presidents have served lobster at their inaugural celebrations and state dinners with international leaders;

    Whereas lobster is an excellent, versatile source of lean protein that is low in saturated fat and high in vitamin B12;

    Whereas the peak of the lobstering season in the United States occurs in the late summer;

    Whereas the preservation and long distance transportation of lobster meat was first achieved 175 years ago with the advent of a canning process;

    Whereas lobster has become a culinary icon, with the lobster roll featured at the 2015 World Food Expo in Milan, Italy; and

    Whereas lobster is enjoyed at casual beach-side lobster boils and also revered as a delicacy at fine dining restaurants: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) designates September 25, 2017, as “National Lobster Day”; and

(2) encourages the people of the United States to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

-end-

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