Tag Archives: lobster

DMC researchers test technique to determine lobster’s age

Research professor Rick Wahle and graduate student Carl Huntsberger are testing a technique at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center to determine the age of lobsters. Unlike fish, mollusks and trees, Wahle says lobsters and other crustaceans molt—or cast off their skeletons thereby discarding external signs of growth. That means a lobster’s age is estimated on size, but it’s a rough determination because ocean conditions affect the crustacean’s growth rate. Not knowing a lobster’s age is problematic for scientists and fishery managers seeking to measure the health of the fishery and the sustainability of the stock. Continue reading the story here 10:06

Update – Sweden’s Request to Ban American Lobster in the EU Risks Violating the Rules of the WTO

In July 2016, we reported that the Swedish Government had requested that the European Union impose a ban on imports of U.S./Canadian live lobster (Homarus americanus). Sweden argues that Homarus americanus should be designated an “alien invasive species” under EU law because it is not native to the EU, it poses serious risks to European lobsters through the spreading of disease, and because once the American lobster is established, it will be impossible to eradicate. An expert group of the European Commission’s Directorate of Environment, the Scientific Forum on Invasive Alien Species, has assessed Sweden’s request in terms of the sufficiency of the scientific evidence presented. In September 2016, it confirmed the validity of the risk assessment and found there was enough evidence to move forward with a full scientific review of Sweden’s request. This broader review of the request to ban live American lobster in the EU is expected to be completed by spring 2017, at the earliest. If that review approves the request, the motion would go to the full European Commission for a final vote. Continue reading the article here 10:25

Bully-net lobster fishermen can get new commercial status

A new Florida commercial lobster license for bully-netters will come with a “Respectful Bully Netting” outreach campaign. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission members on Feb. 8 approved creation of a new bully-net endorsement for people who have a commercial endorsement for lobster.“Conflicts between waterfront homeowners and bully-netters” was cited as one concern about expanding the commercial lobster industry to include the netting technique. The increased use of bully nets for commercial lobstering “allows opportunities for young or new fishers and preserves the culture of participation in the Keys commercial lobster fishery”. Continue reading the story here 14:45

Southern New England Lobstermen question need for restrictions to help species

Some lobster fishermen expressed skepticism Tuesday about a plan to try to revive the dwindling southern New England lobster stock through . Lobster fishing in the U.S. is experiencing a boom that has lasted several years, and prices have also been high. But the population of the species has diminished in the waters off southern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Long Island, New York, where it was once plentiful. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering a host of options to try to rejuvenate the region’s lobster stock, which scientists have said is falling victim to rising ocean temperatures. An arm of the commission voted Tuesday to send the options out for public comment. Read the story here 08:31

Value of Maine lobster exports to China on pace to triple for 2016

Live lobster exports to China are on pace to triple in value in 2016, despite the incursion of some new lobster suppliers to the growing Asian market. Final figures for 2016 won’t be known until February, but through November, the value of live lobster shipments from Maine to China climbed to $27.5 million, nearly tripling from the $10.2 million reported in November 2015. That’s roughly half the total export of live lobsters from Maine to date, excluding Canada, where many Maine lobsters are processed and then imported back into Maine for distribution. And those figures don’t include the traditional year-end surge leading up the Chinese New Year on Jan. 28, when Chinese celebrants have been serving up lobster from Maine, Massachusetts and Canada in ever-increasing numbers. Read the story here 08:17

Beady-eyed creature, not to my taste – Looking for Wendell on Vinalhaven

Beady eyes stared back at me. As I looked at it I felt repulsed and yet sad. I didn’t really want anything to do with it and yet I wanted to save it from its fate. I stood back and let others handle it. There was no way I was going to get anywhere near it. Not that it could really hurt me. It was bound and so could do no one any harm. Just the same, I kept my distance. With a slight plop, it was dropped into a large pot of boiling water – the beginning of a lobster dinner. That was my first experience with these large marine crustaceans. We had traveled to Maine on vacation and had decided to visit the Vinalhaven Island. But neither the rich history, nor the lobster, is what took us to Vinalhaven for the one and only time. Family was why the decision was made to venture out to the island. An older cousin on Dad’s side lived there. Dad had met him when he was a boy after Grandpa Norwood had died. He had come to visit the family in Massachusetts and to offer to adopt and raise my father. While Grandma turned down the offer, Dad had remembered Wendell. Read the story here 14:34

Sweden not giving up fight over lobster import ban

Sweden isn’t giving up on a long-running battle with the U.S. and Canada over lobsters that have turned up in Swedish waters. Officials with Sweden told The Associated Press that their country is working on a new proposal about how to deal with American lobsters that have turned up. A controversy about whether American lobsters are invasive in Swedish waters has simmered for almost a year. Sweden had wanted the European Union to consider a ban of imports of American lobsters. That call came after Sweden announced it had found 32 American lobsters in its waters. European Union officials turned away that request in October after American and Canadian scientists and politicians raised concerns about a lack of evidence that the lobsters warranted such a sweeping ban. But Swedish officials told the AP that the country remains concerned that American lobsters could interfere with European lobsters, which have economic value. Read the story here 15:09

Lobster prices high as catch drops and China imports climb

Lobster lovers are used to adjusting to high prices, but this winter, they’re shelling out even more for the cherished crustaceans because of a lack of catch off of New England and Canada and heavy exports to China. Winter is typically a slow season for U.S. lobster fishermen and an active one off Atlantic Canada. But catch is slow in both countries this year, in part because of bad weather, industry sources said. And the winter months are also an important time for exports to lobster-crazy China, which celebrates its New Year holiday Jan. 28. It’s increasingly popular to celebrate the Chinese New Year with American lobster. That’s causing demand at a time when supply is low. Read the story here 17:54

South Shore Lobstermen brace for third year of fishing ban

It’s a classic New England scene, colorful lobster traps stacked up along a dock. But for fishermen in South Shore lobster ports, those grounded traps are a symbol of hard times ahead. Aban that keeps most of their gear out of the water for the winter is entering its third year, despite arguments that it causes them unfair economic hardship. “If it made sense, that would be one thing,” Irvine Nash, a lobsterman for 48 years, said as he stood on a dock in Green Harbor. “But it don’t,” he said. Behind him, fishermen were pulling traps out of the water and loading them on trucks. They will sit empty in yards and garages until May, when the government lifts the ban. Under a recent rule from the National Marine Fisheries Service, all traps from outer Cape Cod to Cape Cod Bay and parts of Massachusetts Bay must be out of the water by Feb. 1. That’s an area just under 3,000 square nautical miles. The federal agency first imposed the ban in 2015, to decrease the likelihood of endangered North Atlantic right whales, which come to Cape Cod Bay every winter, from entangling themselves in lobster lines. Read the story here 08:36

Air Freight plan would see lobsters expressed to China

Shelburne-based First Catch Fisheries​’ parent company is chartering a​ cargo plane to fly lobsters directly to China from Halifax to break through a logistical bottleneck. Fishing Forever, the China-based parent of the Nova Scotia lobster company, is slated to load up a Boeing 747 with the crusty crustaceans on Jan. 7​ to get them to that Asian market faster, Tony Shi, the company’s vice-president, said in an interview. “It will take off from Halifax, stop in Anchorage, Alaska for fuel . . . (and land in) Zhengzhou in central China,” Shi said in an interview. There are then to be two more flights, on Jan. 14 and Jan. 21, ahead of the Chinese New Year during ​which the Chinese typically celebrate with elaborate feasts, and then three other flights in the month to follow. Read the story here 11:11

Nova Scotia: High winds and rough seas hampers fishing in first weeks of lobster season

High winds and rough seas hampered fishing efforts during the opening three weeks of the commercial lobster along the south shore, negatively impacting landings and driving up the shore price to $7 leading up to Christmas Day. “Catches are way down,” said Clark’s Harbour buyer Gary Blades, C&R Blades Ltd. as he watched lobster fishing boats returning to port on Dec. 20, after almost a week of sitting idle due to the weather. “There’s no comparison to last year,” said Blades, when fine weather prevailed throughout December, enabling fishing boats to get out and check their gear almost every day. All is not gloom however, says Lockeport buyer Mike Cotter, Cotter’s Ocean Products. “Things are moving. Lobsters are selling,” he said. “The price is at $7 so fishermen are pretty happy with that. There’s been no tragedies. No one is going to be stuck with any great volume on land, which is good. Read the story here 08:53

Global demand for lobster surges

Tom Adams, the founder, owner and CEO of Maine Coast in York, recently honored by Mainebiz as its 2016 medium-size fastest growing company, says exports have played a big role in the company’s success. Four years after a glut led to the cheapest lobsters since the 1980s, prices on average for lobster are up 37% this year and the highest on record going back decades. But that hasn’t dampened demand. Bloomberg reported that U.S. and Canadian fishermen are catching more lobster than ever in recent years, yet output hasn’t kept pace with demand: Exports to China are surging and American restaurants increasingly are adding lobster to various dishes on their menus. “The market now is outstripping the supply,” Bernie Berry, president of the Yarmouth, Nova Scotia-based Cold Water Lobster Association, which represents fisherman in Canada, told Bloomberg. Read the rest here 12:00

Operation Lobster set to commence at Halifax Stanfield International Airport

Millions of dollars worth of Nova Scotia seafood will be shipped overseas again this holiday season and, once again, Halifax Stanfield International Airport will play a key role in the huge operation. Indeed, due to the success of the cargo business at Halifax Stanfield, a new 17,000 square metre cargo pad has been built for these freighter’s to utilize. “This time of the year is the busiest for our cargo business,” says Bert van der Stege, Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA) vice president, business development and chief commercial officer.  “Each cargo flight that leaves Halifax Stanfield generates approximately $1 million in new exports for the province.  “The cargo freighters have already started their holiday schedules and once the month of December is complete we estimate more the $15 million in lobster will have been sent from Halifax Stanfield.” Read the story here 10:21

‘Dumping Day’ docked by blustery forecasts in effort to make lobster hunt safer

Safety is of the utmost importance to today’s lobster fishers. And safety holds special significance for old-timers to whom the precautionary measures are a mournful reminder of sailors who paid the ultimate price in pursuit of Canada’s most valuable sea-dwelling commodity. “We try to make Dumping Day safe as we can,” says longtime lobsterman Ashton Spinney. “Still, there’s danger … Unforeseen accidents happen. “Spinney is a member of the body that oversees Lobster Fishing Area 34 (LFA 34) in southwestern Nova Scotia — an approximately New Jersey-sized body of water that has the largest catches of Canada’s 41 lobster fishing districts. Canada’s billion-dollar lobster business remains the most lucrative fishery the country and a crucial economic engine on the East Coast, employing about 30,000 harvesters in the Atlantic provinces. Spinney, who is coming up on his 60th Dumping Day, says in his early years, fishers would set out to sea in up to 130 kilometre per hour winds, restricted only by time and nautical nerve. He says the rules have since changed to only allow boats to set sail if the weather permits safe travel. Contingencies like this have likely spared lives in recent years, Spinney says, but still today, every angler risks life and limb upon exiting the harbour. – Read the rest here 11:21

What’s on a real roll? Demand for the Maine lobster

The demand for lobster is on a roll — often literally. And that is helping to keep the price that Maine lobstermen are getting for their catch near historic highs. The annual per-pound price first rose above $4 in 2004 and stayed there through 2007, then fell sharply during the recession. In 2015, annual price paid to Maine lobstermen reached $4.09 a pound, the first time it had topped the $4 mark since 2007. This year, dockside prices for lobster have been close to or above the $4 level throughout the summer and fall, when most lobster is caught and prices usually dip to reflect the ample supply. Isle au Haut lobsterman Payson Barter said that he has been getting prices this fall that are “about the same” as those in 2015. He sells his catch to Little Bay Lobster in Stonington for $4 to $5 per pound. He said the relatively warm water this fall has helped increase the number of lobsters close to shore but that the crustaceans are now making their seasonal migration farther out to sea. Read the rest here 09:29

Consider the Lobsterman – Sam Rosen, a fisherman from Vinalhaven, Maine, discusses changes in the industry and how they affect the identity of the island community it supports.

4c1350a2eSam Rosen is a lobster fisherman who grew up and lives on Vinalhaven, a town on an island off the coast of Maine with a year-round population of about 1,200 people. According to Vinalhaven’s chamber of commerce, roughly half of the island’s economy comes from lobster fishing and “related support activities.” For The Atlantic’s ongoing series of interviews with American workers, I spoke with Sam about starting his job at a young age and how he is faring with the obstacles currently shaping the industry. The interview that follows has been edited for length and clarity. Jeremy Venook: How did you get into lobster fishing? Sam Rosen: For most people on the island, regardless of gender, if you have a parent that runs or works on a boat, it’s likely that you’ll spend some amount of your childhood working with them. If you don’t have any interest in it you probably won’t, but most kids that age are into boats and living creatures and whatever. You get to play with fish and crash around in a boat all day. In my case, my dad had me hauling a few traps from the time I was 4 or 5 years old. Then you work your way up to more traps as you get older, and eventually get your own boat. For me, my dad built me a boat when I was 11 or 12. Read the interview here 11:40

How a national craze caused lobster prices to boil over

The coast-to-coast craze of lobster roll food trucks has made lobster more affordable, and abroad the appetite for the crustaceans is growing as well, experts say.”The demand for this product now is really unprecedented,” said Annie Tselikis, marketing director for Maine Coast Co., a live lobster wholesaler based in York, Maine. She spoke Monday just before boarding a flight for a seafood trade show in South Korea, a major customer of North American lobsters along with China and others. According to John Sackton, one of the chief reasons prices are so high in August, September and October is “because the processors are buying lobster for customers such as lobster roll trucks, competing with the live lobster buyers. And that’s pushed up the price for lobster overall.” As a result, fresh lobster meals at some well-known Boston seafood restaurants are going nearly $60 for the 2- or 2.5-pound lobster and about $44 for the 1.25-pound. In Maine, lobster dinners at fine dining locations can set you back around $50, and in New York City and California you’re looking at upward of $70. Read the rest here 10:31

European Union backs off North American lobster ban

American-lobsterThe European Union is backing off a Swedish proposal to ban imports of American lobster into 28 member countries. Officials with the EU say the European Commission has informed Sweden it will not propose the lobster be listed as invasive. It will instead pursue measures less likely to disrupt trade. The EU decided last month to conduct an extensive review of a proposal to ban lobsters imported from the U.S. and Canada. A scientific panel had concluded Sweden raised valid points in requesting to declare the American lobster an invasive species. Fishermen in New England and Canada, congressmen and scientists opposed the ban. They said the proposed ban wasn’t based in sound science. The dispute started when Sweden announced it had found 32 American lobsters in its waters. The federal Liberal government expressed alarm at word the EU was considering a ban, vowing it would “vigorously” try to convince the European Union that American lobster did not pose a threat. Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Canadian and American officials had “compelling” scientific evidence that U.S. lobster is not an invasive species. Those who make a living fishing lobster could have lost $200 million in business if such a ban was imposed. link 18:19

Alma Fleet Launch – A big party to see off the lobster fleet on season opener

The lobster fishermen of Alma will be cheered on by hundreds of spectators on Friday morning as they head off to work on the first day of lobster season. This morning a crowd of Alma residents gathered by the wharf to see off the boats that will bring back the delectable ocean-dwellers. Jane Chrysostom, the co-ordinator of the Alma Fleet Launch, said the launch has become a significant event in the community. “Last year at a very, very pre-dawn fleet launch we had over 600 people come. So, it’s a big draw,” said Chrysostom. The lobster industry is important to many small communities along the Bay of Fundy and Alma is no exception, which is why so many residents come out to send the ships off. There will be music, comedy and even food on hand for breakfast. And there is even an opportunity for people to experience the day from a lobster’s point of view. Read the rest here 10:25

EU live lobster ban could cut off $125M Mass. market

lobsterDM0811_468x521Hoping to preserve a $125 million Bay State export market, the Massachusetts Congressional delegation has raised objections with the European Commission, arguing against a ban on live imports of American lobster. In a letter dated Wednesday and signed at the top by U.S. Sen. Ed Markey and Congressman Seth Moulton, the all-Democrat delegation made an economic and scientific pitch for why the trade should continue. The delegation wrote to Daniel Calleja Crespo, directorate-general for environment of the European Commission. “It is our hope that the EU’s Scientific Committee will uphold a commitment to making a data-based decision as they consider the potential listing of American lobster as an invasive species,” the letter says. Read the story here 10:20

Maritime lobster boom: Fancy pickups, a boat shortage and a nice situation for the industry right now!

lobsteredit_1The industry across the Maritimes moved into high gear last year, and has gained momentum since. Amid growing demand for the tasty crustaceans, fishermen have been hauling in record catches that are commanding the highest prices in more than a decade. Aside from $65,000 trucks, the fishermen are also buying new boats — if they can. “The order books are full and many yards are booked for a couple of years out,” says Tim Edwards, executive director of the Nova Scotia Boatbuilders Association. “They’re busier than they’ve been in at least 10 years, maybe 12.” Part of the reason why boatbuilders can’t keep up is a growing demand for longer, wider, more complex boats, typically worth between $500,000 and $750,000. The latest generation of vessels include so-called live wells designed to carry lobster in freshly circulated seawater. The tanks keep the lobsters healthy, which means they’re worth more at the dock. Read the story here 12:48

Lobster price depends on whose plate

10-lobsters1Last week the news was filled with stories about the price of Maine lobster reaching its highest point in 10 years or more. Some trade publications were talking about 1¼-pound hardshells selling for as much as $8.50 over Labor Day weekend. That may be true, but its news to most dealers and fishermen in Downeast Maine when it comes to discussing the boat price. “I’m getting $4.35 plus whatever bonus at the end of the year,” a lobsterman from Blue Hill said on Sunday. That price was for shedders — or what the industry-funded Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative prefers to call “new shell” lobsters. The fisherman hasn’t caught any hardshell lobsters all summer. Read the story here 12:06

Larry the lobster strips for the camera.

lobster moltingChrista Sandall knows lobsters. As an interpreter at the Bonne Bay Marine Station in Norris Point, she spends a lot of time with the animals in the tanks and she knows when they’re acting unusual. So when she saw resident crustacean Larry the Lobster “pacing around his tank,” she knew something was up. “In each lobster tank, they have a little house and usually they’re hid right under there. But he was out kinda pacing back and forth in his tank. Actually it looked like he was doing a little dance or something like that, ” Sandall said. “That’s when I noticed his carapace, his kinda shell, had lifted off a little bit.” Sandall says most lobsters moult every one to two years as they grow larger. But witnessing it for yourself is actually pretty rare — unless of course the lobster lives at your work place in a glass tank. Watch the video, read the rest here 08:45

Lobster prices in New England have spiked to their highest level in more than a decade

744886-LobsterPrices0916-1024x962Annie Tselikis, marketing director at Maine Coast Co. and executive director of the Maine Lobster Dealers’ Association, said demand for live and processed lobster has been strong all summer.“We have seen higher prices in the marketplace this summer … on par with the demand that we’re seeing,” she said. “It’s been crazy since the Fourth of July.” Tselikis said a big reason for the boost in demand for processed lobster is that distributors have stepped up their efforts to create new markets. Much of the recent growth in demand has come from Asian markets including China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam, she said. “We’re seeing lobster in places where it didn’t exist before,” Tselikis said. Read the story here 07:04

Arrests and seizures – DFO releases another 2,500 pounds of lobster into Digby harbor!

article_large dfo arrestsJust days after seizing 1,350 pounds of lobster and returning the live fish into the Annapolis Basin on Aug. 26, Fishery officers from Digby made another series of on the evening of Aug. 30. Fishery officer Corey Webster says both incidents took place in Margaretsville, both involved alleged infractions under the Aboriginal Food Social and Ceremonial fishery and some of the same individuals were arrested in both cases. Officer Webster says charges are still pending in both cases. “We hadn’t even had time to process the first incident before this second one happened,” said Webster. Link 11:43

EU’s Scientific Forum on Invasive Alien Species Opinion Delays American Lobster Ruling

lobsterDM0811_468x521An opinion by a European authority about whether to classify American lobster as an invasive species – the first step in what could be a long process to ban lobster imports in the European Union – has been delayed. A spokesman said members are still gathering information for the EU’s Scientific Forum on Invasive Alien Species about whether American lobsters are a threat to native lobster populations. Swedish scientists submitted a report  on July 31 saying they don’t have the science to prove that American lobsters have invaded and become established in North Atlantic waters but the threat is real and can be fully neutralized only by an import ban. Read the rest here 11:17

DFO seized, returned 1,350 pounds of lobster into the Annapolis Basin

article_large lobsters released dfoA half dozen officers with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada took a dozen crates of lobster onto a floating dock at the Digby wharf Aug. 26, took the bands off the lobster and put the crustaceans back in the water. Fishery officer Jacklyn Titus said officers seized the 1,350 pounds of lobster earlier on Aug. 26 after an investigation on board a fishing vessel in Margaretville involved with the Aboriginal Food Fishery. Six people were arrested as a result of that investigation. All were later released. Titus says charges are pending. Click here for more photo 12:00

J.J. The Lobster – The heaviest lobster to be found in UK waters in 85 years

106821214_giant-lobster-NEWS-large_trans++jJeHvIwLm2xPr27m7LF8maVev2aD5m0eWCA6z67PTLMThe heaviest UK-landed common lobster is settling into his new home. Weighing in at nearly 17lb (7.65kg), he is the heaviest common lobster to be discovered in UK waters since 1931. The lobster, which was initially called Lionel, was discovered earlier this month in waters off Lannacombe Beach , north Devon, by free diver Joe Pike. It was taken to the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth to be weighed and checked over by vets. The lobster has now joined the Aquarium’s Plymouth Sound tank with a brand new name, JJ – in honour of British Olympic silver medal-winning boxer Joe Joyce, a super heavyweight. Aquarium curator James Wright said: “After weighing JJ in at 7.65kg, it does indeed look like he is the heaviest common lobster to be discovered in UK waters since 1931. Read the rest here 12:25

Lobstermen in Maine’s historically open Zone C vote to close their waters to newcomers

1030646_442532-20150905_lobster_4The lobstermen of Stonington and Vinalhaven, the busiest lobster ports in Maine, have voted to close their waters to additional fishermen, preferring that newcomers wait for others to leave before dropping traps there. Almost three of every four local lobstermen who voted in a referendum this summer supported the adoption of a waiting list system. The majority included many of the small island communities that had previously opposed making newcomers wait for lobster licenses out of fear that it would discourage people from moving to their far-flung communities. Of the nine districts within the regional lobster zone, only one, the district that includes Matinicus and Criehaven, voted against making newcomers go on a waiting list. Results show that local lobstermen of all ages, license types and business size support the closure. Read the story here 09:34

Lobster, from the Jersey coast to your dinner plate

It had been a long four days at sea aboard the Two Dukes, harvesting thousands of pounds of American lobster and a sideline catch of Jonah crab about 80 miles from the New Jersey coast in an area called the Hudson Canyon. Out where the water is deeper than a skyscraper is tall, the work days are 14 hours long and start at 5 a.m. There’s really no break aboard the 70-foot steel-hulled lobster boat until a crew member “cooks a nice dinner” – usually not lobster or crab – and then it’s finally time to find a bunk and grab some sleep until the next shift. The weather is an ever-present, relentless partner in the enterprise and, on any given voyage, can range from sunbaked heat to cold, howling winds and monstrous, stormy swells. No one wastes time talking about good weather. Read the story here 08:41

Fishermen in Atlantic Canada cash in on high lobster prices

565237When 50-year-old lobster fisherman Albert Sampson wrapped up the season a few weeks ago, he was pretty pleased with the results. During an intense two month season working 12- to 14-hour days, six days a week, in the high winds off the southeast coast of Cape Breton Island, he and his crew of two deckhands brought in $500,000-worth of lobster. This year, Mr. Sampson got an average price of $8 a pound for his catch, after averaging about $5.75 to $6 a pound last year. I think its been a banner season price-wise for anybody in the Maritimes, says Mr. Sampson, who has been fishing lobster for 20 years. I hope it stays the same next season. Mr. Sampson is one of thousands of lobster fishermen across Atlantic Canada who have benefited from high lobster prices in 2016. In a region where jobs can be hard to come by, especially in rural areas where the majority of lobster fishermen live and fish out of, the increase in lobster prices is welcome news. Read the story here 09:09

Southern New England Crustacean frustrations ahead of ASMFC Lobster Board meeting

American-lobsterFisheries regulators this week will weigh the need for new restrictions on lobster catches in the southern New England coastal area in the wake of steep drops in lobster populations that many scientists attribute to warming ocean waters. Some New England fishermen, however, dispute the assessment by the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission, arguing that the situation is not as dire as the regulators fear. Greg Mataronas, president of the Rhode Island Lobstermen’s Association, told AMI Newswire that his members are nervous about what steps the commission will take. In the area where he fishes – the ocean waters between the Rhode Island-Connecticut border and Chatham, Mass. – lobster fishermen have already imposed trap restrictions on themselves, he said. Asked about the size of his lobster catches, Mataronas said: “It’s been better and better every year since 2012.” He also expressed some uncertainty about scientists’ view that warming waters were an overriding factor in the challenges facing the lobster population.  Read the story here 11:47

Matt Kenseth will take another lobster, thank you very much, after win in New Hampshire 301

NASCAR-New-Hampshire-Auto-Racing-4Matt Kenseth will take another lobster, thank you very much, as he wins Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and claims the unique trophy that comes with it at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Kenseth won Sunday’s New Hampshire 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, taking the lead from Martin Truex Jr. with 44 laps to go and then surviving a spate of wrecks, cautions and restarts over the final 29 laps to claim his second victory of the 2016 season. “You’re always pleased to be in Victory Lane. The farther down the road you get, the better they feel for sure,” said Kenseth, who turned 44 last March and won the championship in NASCAR’s top series in 2003. Read the rest here 11:43

 

Food for Thought! P.E.I. monks buy 600 lbs of lobster to release them into ocean

monks-free-lobstersMore than 600 pounds of lucky lobsters were spared the pot Saturday, thanks to compassionate monks on Prince Edward Island. The monks bought the lobsters from various places around the Island, said Venerable Dan of the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society in Little Sands. On Saturday, they boarded a fishing boat and released them back into the ocean off the coast of Wood Islands. “Hopefully, we can find a spot where there are no cages waiting for them,” said Dan. The purpose is to cultivate compassion not just for the lobsters, but for all beings, he said. “We respect everyone’s dietary choice, so we’re not doing this to convert everybody to be vegetarians or vegans,” he said. “This whole purpose for us is to cultivate this compassion toward others. It doesn’t have to be lobsters, it can be worms, flies, any animals, drive slower so we don’t run over little critters on the street.” Read the rest here 10:02

How an ex-dockworker turned his passion for lobster into a $40 million business

After getting a taste of life as a dockworker when he was a teenager, Tom Adams was hooked. More than three decades later, 46-year-old Adams has climbed from earning $4.50 an hour to heading Maine Coast, the seafood distributor he founded in 2011 that generated $40 million in sales last year. “I got a little salt in my blood and ended up staying with it,” Adams said of his early education in the business, which included unloading boats, grading lobster and picking their meat. After years working with the same company that first hired him, Adams decided to part ways with the business and sell the considerable stake he’d built in it. While Adams declined to share an exact figure, he said the investors paid more than $1 million. As part of the deal, he signed a two-year non-compete, which prohibited him from working for a lobster company in the meantime. Video, read the rest here 18:04

Prices still high for live lobster on the tail a cool spring season!

10-lobsters1Lobstermen in Maine and Massachusetts, who supply the U.S. with most of its domestic lobsters, are coming off several years of high catches for lobsters, a signature food item for the region. Prices for lobsters also have been somewhat high for most of the last two years, with the consumer price currently in the range of $8 to $12 per pound at most retail outlets in Maine, the country’s biggest lobster producer. That’s a couple dollars more than a year ago. Scientists have warned the bigger catches can come early this year – a circumstance that can disrupt the lobster supply chain and depress prices. So far, that hasn’t happened. Right now, lobsters are trickling in, said David Cousens, a South Thomaston lobsterman and the president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. Read the rest here 15:39

Lobster prices up over last year

10-lobsters1Although lobster prices along the North Shore are up a bit from last year, some harvests have gone the other way, River John fisherman Ron Heighton says. “In most areas the catches are down,” said Heighton, who is also the long-serving president of the Northumberland Fishermen’s Union. “Price wise, we’re doing better than last year. And catch wise, in some areas the catches are as good as last year and in some areas they’re not.” Processers and buyers have been paying $6.50/lb. for market-sized lobster compared to about $5.75/lb. for the same period last year, Heighton said. Read the rest here 11:13

Letter: Lobster decline’s link to warmth not clear

lobsterDM0811_468x521On Saturday, The Bulletin presented an article, “Research supports blaming warmer waters for lobster decline,” which was somewhat confusing. On my weekly visits to the local markets, large marine seawater aquariums are typical and usually overfilled with lobsters with frequent sales available, indicating little or no decline noticeable for the popular lobster. These are animals typical marine bottom-feeders living in cold bottom water temperatures, characteristic of the marine environment. The article reports that the populations in New England waters are booming. The temperature typical of the lobster environment was not reported, and therefore one can only assume that bottom water temperature has not changed significantly and probably is not a factor in the lobster environment. Without the temperature data available, it is hard to understand the suggestion concerning lobster decline in the article. Many of these types of presentations appear to be based on emotion and not on the scientific data. DONALD E. LEONE SR. Norwich link 11:19

The Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant is leaking radiation contamination into Biscayne Bay

Wednesday’s news of radiation contamination emanating from the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant leaking into Biscayne Bay alarmed Florida Keys citizens on every level. First, the Keys drinking water comes from the same neighborhood as the plant. Second, the affect to the fishery — so close to home waters — could also have an enormous impact. Florida Keys Commercial Fishing Association’s Bill Kelly said he called on Nick Wiley, the director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, to study the problem on Wednesday. “We need to test the lobster, shellfish and finfish in Biscayne Bay,” Kelly said. “We need to know if there’s any concern about public consumption of any of those products collected in that area.” Read the rest here 09:20

2015 a half-billion dollar lobsterpalooza for Maine fishermen

The Department of Marine Resources released its preliminary 2015 commercial fisheries landings Thursday night and the news was astonishing. According to DMR, the value of Maine’s commercially harvested marine resources topped $600 million in overall value in 2015. The total, $631,768,531, is an all-time high and an increase of more than $33 million over the previous record set in 2014. The largest single increase in value was in the state’s lobster fishery, which saw its total landed value jump by more than $37 million and the average per pound boat price increase by more than 10 percent, from $3.70 per pound in 2014 to $4.09 per pound last year. Read the rest here 08:59

Video – Maine Lobster Sales Surge in Winter for Chinese New Year

lobsterDM0811_468x521In New England, the appetite for Maine lobster peaks in the summer, but halfway across the world, that hunger hits in the dead of winter. Lobster has become a big part of Chinese New Year, which is the week of Feb. 8-12. It;s the nation’s largest celebration, and as Cindy Han, a board member of the and American Friendship Association explains, it is centered around food. “Almost every Chinese New Year meal is going to have fish,” said Han. It’s one dish in particular that’s surging in popularity: Maine lobster. Video, Read the rest here 10:26

Lobster larvae settlement index shows highs and lows

Scientists and researchers in both Canada and the U.S. are developing a lobster larvae settlement index that could predict “what’s coming down the pipe” for the commercial lobster fishery as far as stocks go. At the University of Maine, Richard Wahle, research associate professor of Marine science, has been studying the America lobster for close to 30 years, collaborating with researchers all along the eastern seaboard to “develop predictive tools for population trends through an understanding of larval transport, settlement and post-settlement processes.” Read the rest here 10:38

Regulators Postpone Plan to Try to Preserve Lobsters

Atlantic_States_Marine_Fisheries_Commission_logoInterstate fishing regulators have decided to hold off on starting the process of crafting a plan to try to preserve the dwindling southern New England lobster stock. A board of the  voted Tuesday to postpone authorizing a new management plan for the fishery. A plan could address issues such as trap reductions and closed seasons for lobster fishermen. Southern New England’s lobster fishery is a historic industry in decline. Scientists say the area’s lobster population has sunk to its lowest levels on record. Lobster supply to consumer remains strong because of heavy catch off Maine and Canada. The board decided to postpone the initiation of the plan to allow a technical committee to do more work. It could revisit the issue in May or August. Link 17:48

Rare orange lobster unexpectedly found in Iowa!

R-C--rare-orange-lobster-photo2-jpgHy-Vee workers made an unusual discovery in their perishable distribution center — a rare orange lobster. The female lobster weighed in at about 2.7 pounds. She was discovered in a recent shipment of seafood brought to the Hy-Vee center. Hy-Vee spokeswoman Tara Deering-Hansen said they are exploring options for a permanent home for the lobster nicknamed R.C.  They are looking for a place where she will be well cared for and possibly be on display for the public to see. Read the post here 11:12

U.S. dollar surge boon to N.S. lobster

lobsterDM0811_468x521When the value of the Canadian dollar plummets, cross-border shoppers feel a twinge of pain in their pocketbooks. But for people in the fishing industry, it’s been a big boost. “We’re getting a strong return on our investment when we sell to the United States,” says Dannie Hansen, vice president of sustainability with Louisbourg Seafoods Ltd. “And because of our capital investments this year (of) millions of dollars in innovative equipment, it has been a great help for us on our bottom line at the end of the year.” Read the article here 10:13

The great lobster liberation, well almost

It all began when the Big New Supermarket advertised they would have live lobsters for sale on New Year’s Eve. Some of you were thinking, “Yum! Get out the cooking pot and melt that butter!” Others of us were thinking, “Oh, poor lobsters.” OK, one of us was thinking, “Poor lobsters.” It was a slow day, right? So I began researching “lobster rescue” on the net. Surprisingly, there were no sites devoted to lobster liberation. The PETA folks said, “Consider the plight of lobsters.” But they did not offer much advice other than meditating upon the concerns of crustaceans. Read the rest here 10:15

Banner lobster season underway in sou’west Nova

lobsterDM0811_468x521Strong lobster landings, good fishing weather and a solid shore price continue to hold one month into the commercial lobster fishery in southwestern Nova Scotia. “The catches have been phenomenal,” says Lockeport lobster dealer Mike Cotter of Cotter’s Ocean Products Inc. “It’s just been amazing, right from day one. The catches have been good for everybody and the price has been good. You’re not going to get any better season than this for sure.” Fine weather prevailed for the first two weeks of the season, which opened on Nov. 30 in Lobster Fishing Areas (LFA) 33 and 34, enabling fishers to check their traps every day. Read the article here 09:41

Great December weather is no gift for Maine lobster dealers

lobsterDM0811_468x521Whether you blame it on climate change, a misalignment of the stars or Donald Trump, the weather so far in December has been unusually fair and that has some Maine lobster dealers sweating. Usually by the week before Christmas, most of Maine’s lobster fishermen have hauled their gear onto the bank and cold, stormy weather has kept those who are still fishing mostly in the harbor. Not this year. Read the article here 09:02

Lobster fishermen enjoy tide of good prices, landings

Prices and landings remain high nearly a month into the South Shore lobster season. The average price to fishermen is $6 per pound for canners and $6.25 for larger lobsters, up about $1.50 per pound from last year. That’s despite concerns raised in American media in recent days that continuing economic woes in southern European countries would result in a decline in demand there for Christmas lobster. Read the article here 09:07

U.S. lobster exports to Europe are down for Christmas season, but, they are up in China!

There will be fewer claws for Christmas in Europe this year. Less of the record lobster catches that have been a boon for the American fishing industry are making it onto European tables, where they have long been a holiday tradition, from lobster Thermidor in France to Italy’s La Vigilia, known in America as the Feast of the Seven Fishes. But a strong U.S. dollar and a less-than-festive economy overseas mean a weak year for American shippers like Mike Tourkistas. Read the article here 10:33

Another ‘Shark Tank’ success story is headed to Nashville

lobster_750xx3456-1944-0-180Love seafood and reality TV? Nashville is about to get a food truck that’s right up your alley. Cousins Maine Lobster, a lobster-focused food truck company that landed a deal with Barbara Corcoran on ABC’s “Shark Tank in 2012, will soon be rolling in Nashville. Craig Betts and Quinn Raines, the local franchisees, plan to launch the first Middle Tennessee truck this April, Betts said. “It’s going to be a unique product to this market, it’s hard to find any good quality seafood here,” said Betts, a West Coast native. Read the article here 10:42

From trap to plate, Maine lobster distribution is a complex system

John Norton, president and co-founder of Cozy Harbor Seafood, outside the Portland waterfront facility.

John Norton, president and co-founder of Cozy Harbor Seafood, outside the Portland waterfront facility.

David Cousens has been fishing for lobsters for about 40 years. For seven months each year, Cousens — a South Thomaston resident and long-time president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association — heads out early in the morning on his Young Brothers boat, “Three Sons,” to tend 800 traps, spending 10 to 11 hours per day on the water.,, The lobster industry largely caters to the disposable-income market, and so is vulnerable to economic downturns. “Lobster’s a celebration food and so, when the economy’s bad, the market’s bad,” Cousens says.  Economic multiplier, Complex supply chain Read the article here 08:53

They’re off! Lobster season gets underway in southwestern Nova Scotia

dumping day 2015The lobster season in lobster fishing area (LFA) 34 – which takes in all of Yarmouth County and parts of Shelburne and Digby counties and LFA 33, which takes in the rest of the South Shore, kicked off early Monday morning. All indications are that the season will be an excellent one, say industry representatives and are hoping strong prices and good catches. There are around 980 licence holders in LFA 34. As for the lobster season that is now getting underway, it will come to an end on May 31, 2016. Read the article here with 4 nice photo’s 08:50

N.S. lobster pilot project to be expanded

Fifteen months after announcing a pilot project focused on lobster quality, Nova Scotia’s fisheries minister says the project is so successful it is expanding — but he still won’t reveal the locations of the work. The aim of the pilot is to add value to a lobster at every step of the process, from the time it comes out of the water to the time it ends up on a person’s plate in an export market. Argyle-Barrington MLA Chris d’Entremont said it’s great to hear the project is successful, but if that’s the case it would be nice if there were some more details. “I think he’s trying to be too cute,,, Read the article here 12:06

Researching lobster stock trends in southwestern N.S. by tracking juvenile lobsters

lobster tracking dfoEach year researchers collect samples of juvenile lobsters from the ocean floor in Lobster Bay in Yarmouth County and St. Mary’s Bay in Digby County to track levels of juvenile lobster. Three years ago scientists said there were “troubling signs.” Last year they said sampling had yielded the highest levels ever. This year the numbers aren’t as high as they were last year. “The numbers were definitely lower than last year,” says DFO research scientist Adam Cook. “They’re more on par with what we’ve seen in past years, so it is uncertain as to what that means.” Read the article here 12:21

Symposium offers clues to how lobsters adapt to climate change

lobsterDM0811_468x521While he’s the first to admit predicting the impact of climate change on the lobster population is far from an exact science, Dr. Remy Rochette says some models he works with in a joint project between the University of New Brunswick and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans do offer clues. Rochette was one of the keynote speakers at a Canada-U.S. lobster symposium held recently in Charlottetown focusing on the American lobster in a changing ecosystem. Read the rest here 12:01

Lobster industry told to leverage Canadian brand

article_largeStewart Lamont of Tangier Lobster Company ,  and Patrice McCarron of the Maine Lobsterman's AssociationThe Canadian lobster industry has been missing the boat for years by failing to capitalize on an iconic and trustworthy symbol known the world over. “We have a superior product here in this country, but fail to use this incredible branding image that is entirely free,” said Stewart Lamont of the Tangier Lobster Company in Nova Scotia. “We have one of the most effective branding stories possible and we have it in one word – Canada.” Lamont told the U.S.-Canada Lobster Symposium recently the industry that intrigues and delights him is a fractured and chaotic system,,, Read the rest here 14:29

Life as a lobsterman: Better times, but it’s still a struggle.

EP-151029399SEABROOK — After a windy morning 9 miles off New Hampshire’s coast, Charles Knowles and his brother transferred 216 pounds of live lobster with their bare hands into plastic bins on Knowles’ docked fishing boat during Wednesday’s lunch hour. Some of his catch was destined for dinner tables this weekend. A man with a winch pulled up several plastic bins from Knowles’ 32-footer at the Yankee Fisherman’s Cooperative, nestled between salt flats and Route 1A. For his efforts, Knowles will earn $4.10 a pound — or $886 for the day’s catch. Read the rest here 11:37

An Unnatural History of The McLobster

From Robert Steneck’s home in South Bristol, Maine, his view reaches past the pale granite headlands at the mouth of the Damariscotta River to be swallowed by the open Atlantic. The word “pristine” tends to pop into the heads of visitors, he said, but he prefers a more objective description. “The Gulf of Maine is a highly simplified and arguably domesticated ecosystem,” Steneck, a marine ecologist with the University of Maine, explained. “If you put it that way, are you surprised that we have McLobsters?” Read the rest here 17:48

Lobster prices hold steady as demand wavers in US, rises in China

lobsterDM0811_468x521Despite the annual post-Labor Day slowdown in US demand for lobster, high prices, initially caused by a shortage of product after a harsh winter, are unlikely to start dropping anytime soon, bolstered by the growing Chinese demand. According to Peter McAleney of New Meadows Lobster in Portland, Maine, lobster prices are about 50 cents higher than they were this time last year. Neil Zarella of the Boston Lobster Company said that soft-shell lobsters are selling from $4.75 to $5.75 per pound. Read the rest here 12:52