Hundreds of undersized lobsters found in New York City supermarkets

Published on
January 23, 2023
An officer from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Division of Law Enforcement inspects lobsters for sale in New York City.

Authorities in the U.S. state of New York have discovered hundreds of undersized lobsters for sale in several New York City supermarkets.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) Division of Law Enforcement conducted an inspection of an unidentified supermarket in the borough of Queens on 24 December, 2022, and found 128 undersized live lobsters for sale. On 26 December, 245 undersized lobsters were found for sale at a market in the borough of Brooklyn. Both supermarkets were issued violation notices, according to a DEC press release, with each violation coming with a fine of between USD 400 and USD 600 (EUR 368 and EUR 552). The lobsters were confiscated and donated to a food pantry in New York City.

New York state law requires lobsters that are sold there to have a minimum carapace size of 3.375 inches and a maximum size of 5.25 inches.

"DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers and Investigators work hard each day to serve their communities, protect our precious natural resources, and safeguard public health, while ensuring those who break the state's stringent Environmental Conservation Laws are held accountable," New York DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "In partnership with local, state, and federal law enforcement, DEC looks forward to continuing to support the work our ECOs perform in every corner of New York."

A previous inspection in February 2022 by the DEC of nine retail food stores selling seafood uncovered four violations, including the possession of untagged shellfish and possession of undersized fish.

And in 2016, the DEC seized more than 1,100 pounds of undersized lobster from several Price Chopper stores across the state.

Photo courtesy of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

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