2008-05-01 / Letters to the Editor

Disregard the spin, prohibit methoprene use

I was somewhat appalled that someone would write last week to imply that the issue pertaining to lobster mortality was somehow rooted in "superstition and innuendo." Then I reached the bottom of the letter. It figures. Unfortunately, the only mis-information being floated was in Mr. Conlon's letter.

The fact is, there have been clear correlations of lobster mortality to methoprene use in many states going back to the 1990s, and known effects on crustaceans were shown back in the 1970s. It also doesn't take a genius to do a little simple research and find out that there are multiple studies that show that methoprene, in concentrations as low as five parts per billion, interfere with the metabolism, hormones and molting cycles in various-stage larval and juvenile lobsters:

"Methoprene is a pesticide that acts as a juvenile hormone analog in insects (Restifo & Wilson 1998). It also mimics the action of methyl farnesoate (MF), the crustacean analog of juvenile hormone (Laufer et al. 1987). Although developed initially against insects, it has since been shown in a number of investigations to have toxic effects on larval and adult forms of various crustaceans (Christensen et al. 1977, Payen & Costlow 1977, Templeton & Laufer 1983, Ahl & Brown 1990, 1991, Horst & Walker 1999)."

It shouldn't take a whole lot of extra, wasted years to come to the logical conclusion that insects and lobsters are evolutionarily related, for better or worse. After all, we haven't been calling them "bugs" all these years for nothing

Mr. Conlon is correct that Maine has not banned methoprene use. The individual coastal towns that knew the truth and faced the threat took the action. Which is exactly what the rest of our communities should do. Waiting for the industry, the state, or EPA for that matter, is a waste of time. We owe it to our fishermen who break their backs every day in the elements, to take action. In light of what we know, it shouldn't be our problem any longer to prove methoprene is harmful - it should be someone else's problem to prove conclusively that it isn't.

Tom Johnson

Bow Street

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