“There will be plenty of Lobsters this Spring,” Prices are Falling
Lobster prices are high in the US now, but members of the industry expect them to come down soon as the Canadian catch come up and America’s Summer haul gets going.
1-lb lobsters, which Mainers call “chicks,” are selling for about $12/lb to consumers, which is $2/lb more than 2 months ago. The US lobster industry, based heavily in Maine, is in a slow mode as fishermen get ready to pull traps in the Summer.
The lack of fishing effort and high prices have caused some in the seafood industry to raise the possibility of a shortage, but industry members say quite the opposite is true. Canada’s Spring fishing season is just starting to heat up, which means prices already are starting to track back down, industry members said.
US lobstermen who were getting $10/lb for their catch at the dock in March are now getting closer to $6/lb, said the President of the Maine Lobster Dealers’ Association. Consumers can expect to start seeing that price shift show up at the seafood counter soon.
“You had weather, nothing around, fairly steady demand, it just drives the price crazy,” he said. “Now we are heading toward normalcy.”
The wholesale price of 1¼/lb lobsters fell from $10.78/lb in April to $8.51/lb this month in the New England market.
It is typical for lobster prices to fall from April to May, but the May price is still about $1.50 above average, according to the data.
Maine’s lobster catch fell to about 111-M/lbs last year after setting a record of 132.5-M/lbs the prior year. It was the lowest total since Y 2011, though still much more than the typical catch in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. More than 80% of the nation’s catch typically comes to shore in Maine, although Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island also have significant lobster fisheries.
Fresh, live lobster is historically a summer food in New England, but the growing globalization of the lobster business is starting to change that. That means demand is sometimes higher in the cooler months once considered the lobster “off season.”
American catch also appeared to suffer due to bad weather during the already-slow Winter season this year.
There is every reason to believe there will be plenty of lobster to go around this coming summer, said the President of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association.
“Guys are getting gear ready to set,” he said. “It’s absolutely a typical Spring.”
Have a terrific week.
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