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July 14, 2017

Lobster catch down, prices remain steady

Courtesy / Tom Thai, Flickr
Courtesy / Tom Thai, Flickr
Although the state's lobster catch is lower than recent years it hasn't translated into higher prices for consumers.

Maine's lobster catch is lower than recent years at this time of the season, but that hasn't translated into higher prices for consumers.

According to an Associated Press report published by the Sun Journal, consumers are paying a little bit less for the critters than they were a year ago.

Fishermen and distributors told the AP the summer boom in lobster catch hasn't arrived yet.

One reason the catch is slow is because the price of bait is high, so fishermen are holding off until they know they'll have successful runs, David Cousens, a South Thomaston lobsterman and the president of the Maine Lobstermen's Association, told the AP.

"We're not catching any lobsters and the price is average," he said. "But this is not panic mode."

Earlier this year, findings of an international monitoring program of American lobsters indicated the number of young lobsters in the Gulf of Maine continues to fall. The 2016 update from the American Lobster Settlement Index, an international monitoring program founded in 1989 by University of Maine marine scientist Rick Wahle, noted the decline in baby lobsters has been occurring since 2007, despite an abundance of egg-bearing adult lobsters and record-breaking harvests.

The findings came at a time when New England lobster landings in recent years have been stronger than ever — with 80% of the landings coming from the Maine coast and about three-quarters of the state's overall fishery value coming from lobster. "A downward trend in lobster production could significantly impact the state's coastal economy in the future," the report said.

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