Look After the Lobsters

Environmental Advocates Support this Bill

Explanation: 

Methoprene is a larvicide that prevents larval mosquitos from maturing and breeding. The insecticide, also known as Altosid, is intended to control mosquito populations which are the principle vector of the West Nile Virus. Methoprene has also been linked to the killing of lobster larvae and shell disease. This bill amends the Environmental Conservation Law to make it unlawful for a person to use a pesticide that contains methoprene in any storm drain adjoining the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean and their connecting waterbodies.

Since 1999, methoprene has been one of the insecticides applied to the Western Long Island Sound watershed area in an effort to control the mosquito vector of the West Nile Virus. Since that time, the seasonal lobster catches from the Long Island Sound have decreased dramatically. According to a study on the effects of methoprene on lobster, even low levels of methoprene have been proven to have adverse effects on lobster larvae and shell quality. The study concluded that methoprene may well have played a significant part in the dramatic decrease of lobsters in the Long Island Sound.

In order to aid the lobster populations, it is important that we eliminate the use of methoprene in New York State, specifically near the Long Island Sound and waterways connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. There are alternatives to control mosquito populations such as the bacterial agent, Bti. Bti is a group of bacteria used as a biological control agent for larvae stages. In contrast with other methods, one of the major advantages of Bti products is that they are thought to affect few nontarget species. We encourage New York to seek alternatives to harmful insecticides like methoprene that are harmful to wildlife.

Summary: 

This bill amends Section 33-1301 of the Environmental Conservation Law by adding a new subdivision 12 making it unlawful for a person to use a pesticide that contains methoprene in any storm drain adjoining the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean and their connecting waterbodies. Emergency application of this pesticide may be made as determined by the county health department, in cases where there is a significant threat to public health.

Memo #: 

60