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March 12, 2018

Upgrade underway at Stonington Lobster Co-op

The Stonington Lobster Co-op has torn down a 50-year-old lobster hatchery to make way for a new office building.

Island Advantages reported the new 40-foot-by-100-foot building could also house a tank room. Once it's up, the current office building will be demolished in order to add parking.

Co-op Manager Ron Trundy noted the 2017 lobster haul was down in some areas by as much as 20% and the 2018 lobster season so far has been poor.

"It doesn't necessarily mean it's the end of lobstering; let's see what this year brings," Trundy said.

Although Maine's lobster landings in 2017 were the sixth highest on record at 110.8 million pounds, that tally represents a 16% decline from 2016's 132.5 million landings total. The drop wasn't unexpected. Lobster co-ops Downeast, like Stonington, were reporting in late summer as much as a 25% to 30% drop in volume compared with 2016.

A new study, by Michael Donihue, a professor of economics at Colby College, conducted in conjunction with the Maine Lobster Dealers' Association, puts the economic impact of the lobster supply chain at $1 billion.

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