NY Regulators Cracking Down On Sale Of Undersized Lobsters At Price Chopper Stores

Image courtesy of sheridesabeemer

It’s summer, and many people are no doubt jonesing for that seasonal favorite, the lobster roll. But in order to make sure there are enough lobsters to go around without depleting the crustacean population, there are laws regarding how big they have to be to be sold. And according to New York regulators, Price Chopper has had more than a few undersized lobsters for sale in the last few months.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation said Thursday that it’s yanked more than 1,100 pounds of undersized products from Price Chopper locations in three different inspections since March.

New York’s Environmental Conservation Law requires that lobsters that are taken, possessed, bought, sold, imported, and exported must measure between 3 and 3/8-inches and 5 and 1/4-inches from the eye socket to the end of the body shell.

Officials started looking into Price Chopper’s lobsters after agents spotted two short lobsters at Price Chopper stores in Binghamton. Random checks in May at other stores found similar results.

An inspection at a Price Chopper distribution center in Schenectady on Tuesday this week found that 820 lobsters, or about 15% of the inventory of 297 cases, were under the legal size limit. At least 105 other short lobsters have been seized at other stores, with a total seizure valued at more than $7,999.

Price Chopper could be facing fines of up to $100 for every shellfish involved, though the state says it’s planning to negotiate a settlement with the grocery chain in the coming weeks.

These little guys won’t go to waste, however: New York donated the undersized shellfish this week to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York in Latham.