Update: If you’re looking for 2015 Maine lobster prices, click here.
The 2014 Maine lobster fishing season has entered the August stretch and the boat price of lobster in Maine remains strong. As mentioned in a previous post, catches are lower than they have been over the past few years which is having a positive impact on the price. Hard shell lobsters are selling for over $5 per pound in many areas and the price of shedders (new shell lobsters) is up in the $3 range.
The reason for the lower lobster catches is down to the fact that the shed (molt) is coming later this year. In Down East Maine, the shedder run usually kicks off in mid-July, when the water starts to warm up to the mid-fifty-degree range. Perhaps because of the extremely cold winter, the lobsters are being sluggish about shedding their shells and this has a major impact on a fisherman’s catch. As explained in my book:
When the shedders come, the fishing starts to pick up. Shedders are hungry for food, so they are good candidates for trapping. The other thing to remember about shedders is that when they shed they gain about 15 percent in length and 40 percent in weight. Depending on their original size, the process of shedding often pushes them from being a juvenile to a legal-size lobster. Many of the keepers caught by lobstermen in the summer are the same lobsters that were thrown back over the side in the spring. Back then, they didn’t make the gauge, but now they’re money in the bank.
In 2012 and 2013, the shedders showed up early – in June – catching the lobster industry off-guard. The market became flooded with new shell lobsters and the boat price took a beating. This year, we are moving into August without a full-blown shed in Downeast Maine. I bet those shedders will taste extra sweet when they come!
To read more about the Maine lobster fishing season, click here.