Maine Lobster Catches Are Down, But So Are Prices

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It's still a great summer for lobster roll lovers.

Summer is prime lobster time. Granted, lobsters can be caught all year round, and some tasters may debate whether warm weather soft shell lobsters or cold weather hard shell lobsters are preferable. Still, we think most people will agree that eating a lobster roll under the summer sun is vastly superior to trying to enjoy one huddled next to the fireplace.

However, when it comes to the lobster summer of 2017, things are not off to an explosive start. According to the Associated Press, the number of lobsters caught off New England shores is lagging behind previous years. The summer months are prime lobster trapping conditions for a number of reasons: When the waters get warmer, lobsters shed their shells, allowing them to grow. Not only are these feeding lobsters easier to catch, but as they get bigger, many will reach the legal harvesting size requirements for the first time: fresh meat (in more ways than one).

For now though, the typical summer boom has been described as more of a “trickle,” by Bill Bruns of The Lobster Company. “It has just been a slow start to the season,” he told the AP. “It’s reminiscent of an old-fashioned season.” For the past six years, Maine’s lobster industry has been riding high, with each harvest bringing in at least 100 million pounds of the crustacean. Before then, even hauling in 80 million pounds was considered a good year. Still, lobster fishermen don’t seeming to be worrying yet. “It’s not panic mode,” said David Cousens, president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association.

Consumers certainly have no reason to panic. Despite the slow start, prices are actually lower this year compared to last. Earlier this month, business publisher Urner Barry pegged the wholesale price of a 1.25-pound hard shell lobster at $7.63 per pound, down from just over $8 per pound last year. Of course, if the supply continues to stay low, those number will likely change. You know, in case you want to use basic economics as another excuse to go have lobster roll right now.

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