1K Pounds of Lobsters Seized from Price Chopper

     ALBANY, N.Y. (CN) — Price Chopper’s attempts to sell undersized lobsters in New York netted more than 1,100 pounds of seized goods since March, state regulators said Thursday.
     From their eye sockets to the end of their body shells, lobsters must measure at least 3.375 inches, and no more than 5.25 inches, to be “taken, possessed, bought, sold, imported and exported in New York.”
     The state Department of Environmental Conservation said it began executing random checks of Price Chopper’s crustaceans after environmental conservation officers found short lobsters at two of the supermarket chain’s Binghamton locations.
     In the weeks following that March report, officers found similar results at Price Chopper stores across the state.
     The conservation team performed a routine inspection Tuesday at Price Chopper’s distribution center in Schenectady.
     After measuring 297 cases of lobsters, the officers found that approximately 15 percent of the inventory, 820 lobsters, were under the legal size limit.
     The state has seized at least 105 undersized lobsters at the other stores.
     New York valued the total seizure at more than $7,000.
     New York donated the undersized lobsters Wednesday to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York in Latham.
     Under the Environmental Conservation Law provisions of the Fish and Wildlife Law, Price Chopper faces fines of up to $100 for every shellfish involved.
     The state plans to negotiate a settlement with Price Chopper in the coming weeks.
     New York puts size restrictions on lobsters to protect the fishing stock.
     Overfishing has caused U.S. lobster populations to drop over the last several decades, and letting lobsters grow and reach maturity bolsters the stock, New York authorities note.

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