Tag Archives: lobster

Maine Is Drowning in Lobsters – The market is booming, but it’s not making anybody rich

In his famous 1968 essay “The Tragedy of the Commons,” biologist Garrett Hardin singled out ocean fishing as a prime example of self-interested individuals short-sightedly depleting shared resource.,, Then there’s the Maine lobster. As University of Maine anthropologist James M. Acheson put it in his 2003 book “Capturing the Commons: Devising Institutions to Manage the Maine Lobster Industry”. Since the late 1980s, catches have been at record-high levels despite decades of intense exploitation. We have never produced so many lobsters. Even more interesting to managers is the fact that catch levels remained relatively stable from 1947 to the late 1980s. While scientists do not agree on the reason for these high catches, there is a growing consensus that they are due, in some measure, to the long history of effective regulations that the lobster industry has played a key role in developing. Click here to read the article 15:42

Lobster season off to excellent start in eastern Cape Breton

The opening day of lobster season along the eastern side of Cape Breton is being described as perfect. “So far, so good,” said Merrill MacInnis, who fishes out of Little River Harbour along the North Shore. “Hopefully the conditions will stay great, that’s the big thing. It all depends on the weather.” The season in Area 27, which extends from Bay St. Lawrence down to Forchu, was delayed this year due to bad weather. It was to have opened on Saturday, but fishermen didn’t set their traps until Wednesday. They hauled them the next day. Click here to read the story 18:58

Lobster season delayed in Cape Breton by weather

Fishermen from Bay St. Lawrence to Gabarus have caught a couple extra days to prepare for lobster fishing season. Herb Nash of Glace Bay, a fisherman and president of the 4Vn Management Board Association, said opening day for Area 27 was May 15 but was postponed until Wednesday at 5 a.m. He said it the decision came from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the harbour representatives due to high winds in the forecast. “They will be adding the two days to the end,” he said. “The fishermen don’t mind the cancellation because of the forecast — they can’t set traps in that weather anyway.” Click here to read the story 11:39

Lobster prices expected to be ‘highest ever’ for start of season

Prices at the wharf for lobster taken form the waters in the Northumberland Strait are expected to fetch between $7 and $7.50 per lb., said Ron Heighton, president of the Northumberland Fishermen’s Association. Heighton said the fishermen won’t know for sure what they will be paid until likely sometime this week but based on the higher-than-normal prices being paid elsewhere, wharf prices are also expected to be up along the north shore. At the beginning of last year, processers and buyers were paying about $6.50/lb. for market-sized lobster compared to about $5.75/lb. for the same period in 2015. click here to read the story 17:08

Lobster catches taking nose dive in southern Nova Scotia

Ashton Spinney, co-chair of the Lobster Advisory Committee for Lobster Fishing Area 34, says only half as many lobsters as usual are being brought ashore this spring. “The water temperature is cold. It hasn’t warmed up. And the lobsters aren’t crawling into the traps,” said Spinney in an interview Friday. With fuel, bait and salaries for deckhands climbing with inflation in recent years, the paucity of lobsters this spring is leaving many fishers wondering if they’ll even be able to break even before the fishery ends on May 31. “There are some that are finding it hard,” said Spinney. “Those that fished 50 miles out last year and would stay out there, this year they’re not finding enough lobsters to stay out there. So they’re coming in close to the shore, hoping to find some lobsters.” The longtime lobster fisherman says it’s just as bad in Lobster Fishing Area 33. click here to read the story 11:24

Proposed new rules for lobstering up for vote amid decline in southern New England

Scientists have said populations of lobsters off of Connecticut, Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts have declined as waters have warmed. A board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is scheduled to vote on new management measures Monday and Tuesday. Fishing managers are considering tools like trap reductions, changes to the legal harvesting size of lobsters and seasonal closures to try to preserve the population. Some lobster fishermen have opposed the possibility of new measures, saying such a move would kill off what remains of a once-vibrant fishery. “Any further reductions in traps would be hard to accommodate, given that there are so few fishermen left in (southern) Massachusetts and Rhode Island,” said Beth Casoni, executive director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association. click here to read the story 11:26

The Luck of the Irish! – Fisherman catches rare one-in-100 million albino lobster off the west of Ireland coast

A ONE-in-100 million white albino lobster has been donated to an Irish aquarium after it was saved from the chef’s cooking pot by a fisherman in Ireland. Local fisherman Charlie O’Malley caught the rare crustacean in his nets off the coast of Achill Island in Co. Mayo. The chance of catching a ‘ghost’ lobster like the one found in Achill is approximately one-in-100million. For comparison, the odds of winning the Lotto jackpot in Britain is around one-in-14million. (its certainly the prettiest lobster I’ve seen!) Click here to read the story. 09:32

Why lobster prices are so high and what it means for the industry

Lobster prices in the Maritimes are high and buyers in Nova Scotia say they’ve never seen lobster on the wharf sell for $8 per pound in early May. This is the time of year when almost every lobster fishery on the East Coast is open — there are more boats on the water in early May than there are at pretty much any other time of the year. With so many traps in the water, why is the price so high? “This is the highest price in the history of the commercial fishery in the spring on this date. I emphasize on this date,” said Stewart Lamont, a lobster buyer on Nova Scotia’s eastern shore and managing director of Tangiers Lobster Company. click here to read the story 09:57

P.E.I. Fishermen hope for the best – first lobsters of the 2017 season will be hauled in on Monday

P.E.I. Lobster fishermen will be crossing their fingers as they head out onto the waters this morning for the first landing day of the 2017 fishery. Long-time fisherman, Norman Peters, also known as the Bearded Skipper, went out from North Rustico Saturday on his boat Silver Wave with his brother Keith and son Corey. Peters, who has been fishing for longer than 55 years, said the day went well, although it was impossible to tell what the landings will be like. Like many others, Peters was remaining cautiously optimistic. “We’ll have to wait and see,” said the 75-year-old Peters. “No doubt there’s going to be lobster, a pound or two to a trap would be nice, but whatever we get, we get.” click here to read the story 08:11

Most of P.E.I.’s 960-boat spring lobster fleet will set gear Saturday – Fishermen from Point Prim to Victoria will set a week later

Some lobster fishermen started transferring traps from the wharf to their boats on Thursday as preparations for Saturday’s opening of the spring lobster fishing season shifted into high gear. Many of the crews, however, are waiting until Friday to load up. “I hope everybody has a safe season, all across P.E.I and I hope the catches are good,” said Francis Morrissey, president of the Western Gulf Fishermen’s Association. Morrissey said many of the fishermen in his area have been able to catch a fair amount of spring herring for bait to get their season started, and he’s encouraged that the weather conditions for setting day, this Saturday are forecast to be good. click here to read the story, and we wish these fishermen well. Stay Safe! 11:55

Lobster — Smoke That!

You may be familiar with smoked salmon and smoked trout. But Robert Young wants you to get to know smoked Maine lobster. His Vinalhaven Smoked Lobster company is named for Vinalhaven, a small island 12 miles off the coast of Maine, where Young fishes. For the past decade, he’s been catching fresh lobsters aboard his boat, then steaming them, before extracting the meat to smoke over either cherry or hickory chips. The flesh is then either preserved in oil or turned into a lusty dip. What is smoked lobster like? It’s denser in texture than just steamed or boiled lobster. And it doesn’t flake like smoked fish does. Instead, the bite-size morsels are firm with a chew to them. The taste is sweeter than smoked fish, too. The cherry wood smoked lobster is more delicate tasting, accentuating the inherent sweetness of the mollusk, while the hickory-smoked lobster is much more full-on smoky, savory tasting. click here to read the story 14:53

Catch Shares? – Researchers Fear Industrialization of Maine Lobster Fleet

Unlike most fisheries in the world, the lobster industry is actually experiencing an unprecedented boom despite centuries of sustained harvesting. Last year, the lobster catch was a record 130 million pounds, marking the fifth straight year the annual catch went over 120 million pounds, and over six times more than the long-term average for the state. The recent lobster boom, according to the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, is likely primarily due to warmer ocean temperatures as younger lobsters are reaching sexual maturity faster in warmer waters. But it’s also because, unlike the ground fishery, the state long ago took a proactive approach to conserving the resource. “There are some interesting differences between those two fisheries in terms of the regulations we put in place very early on in the lobster fishery,” said fisheries researcher Patrick Shepard at the Penobscot Marine Museum’s “Our Evolving Fisheries History Conference” in Belfast on April 8, “but there are also some interesting parallels to what might be happening as far as technological advances.” click here to read the article 13:49

Lobster buyer gets his license yanked

A hearing examiner has upheld the one-year suspension of the license of a lobster buyer accused of failing to report a portion of the purchases made off a barge based in Seal Cove in Tremont. In August, Maine Marine Patrol officers summonsed Donald Crabtree Sr. of Crabtree Seafood in Brewer on a charge of violating the Department of Marine Resources’ (DMR) reporting requirements, a civil violation. Crabtree appealed his suspension. A hearing examiner last week determined that the suspension is justified, according to Sgt. Troy Dow of the marine patrol. Crabtree began using the town-owned Seal Cove Wharf as a base for his lobster business in the spring of 2015. He was mooring his 45-foot barge there and used the facility’s ramp to load bait before motoring into Blue Hill Bay to sell bait to fishermen and buy lobsters from them. The day’s catch later was offloaded at the ramp. click here to read the story 11:16

Lobsters at core of a tasty China-US story

Lobsters caught by fishermen on Little Cranberry Island in Maine in the United States in the morning can be had for dinner by Chinese families the next evening. The lobster and shrimp farming industry in Maine, which despite its history of more 150 years faced an uncertain future because of overcapacity, has been revitalized by Chinese consumers’ strong demand. That China-US interdependence in trade is based on win-win cooperation and mutual benefit is evident in the “lobster story”. The volume of China-US trade was less than $13 million in 1972, the year when bilateral ties started thawing thanks to then US president Richard Nixon’s visit to China. Last year, the bilateral trade volume reached nearly $520 billion. In 1979, when the two countries officially established diplomatic relations, Chinese people’s impression of US products was largely limited to a “foamy drink called Coca-Cola”. Click here to read the article 18:20

Maine fishermen see warning signs in lobster surge

After Maine’s lobster industry set sales records for a second straight year, area fishermen are enjoying the boom while the water is warm. Literally. Rising sea temperatures are benefiting Maine’s iconic crustacean, leading to an increase in population while other marine species, such as soft-shell crabs, have suffered a decline, according to fishermen who spoke at a March 16 Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association panel. But the factors for today’s success may portend tomorrow’s economic and cultural disaster, according to some area fishermen. “We’re going to start going down when it gets warmer,” Maine Lobstermen’s Association President Dave Cousens told the audience at the Frontier Cafe. Cousens was joined by MCFA President Gerry Cushing, of Port Clyde; Chebeague Island fisherman Alex Todd, and lobsterman Steve Train of Long Island. continue reading the story here 11:07

The production value of Newfoundland and Labrador’s seafood industry reached another record high in 2016.

It totalled over $1.4 billion last year, an increase of 8.9 per cent over 2015. Fisheries and Land Resources Minister Steve Crocker announced the release of the 2016 Seafood Industry Year in Review today in the House of Assembly, ahead of his trip to Boston with Premier Dwight Ball for Seafood Expo North America 2017 on Sunday. “We will be accompanying our world-class seafood marketing team and the Newfoundland and Labrador delegation to join the 1,200 companies, and over 21,000 buyers, suppliers, media and other seafood professionals at North America’s largest seafood trade event,” Crocker said. Other highlights of the report include: aquaculture production, employment, value of landings,  shellfish,  lobster, groundfish, seal hunt,  Read the article here, and click here for the full report 08:56

China has finally developed a taste for lobster—and it’s keeping Maine fishermen flush with cash

Seafood is a classic luxury item in China. But until recently, people there weren’t big on lobster. The iconic, bright-red crustaceans were known as the “Boston lobster,” and were a rarity compared to other fancy oceanic eats like sea cucumbers or geoduck clams. But the economic boom in China has given the country’s swelling ranks of rich people a chance to expand their culinary horizons. For Maine’s lobster industry, the crustacean craze couldn’t have come at a better time. In 2016, Maine’s lobstermen landed more lobsters than ever in recorded history: 130 million pounds (59,000 tonnes), a haul that weighs as much as three Statues of Liberty. continue reading the article here 19:40

Drop in herring a mystery in Maine as bait price booms

Scientists and fishermen are trying to figure out why Maine’s Atlantic herring catch — the largest in the nation — has fallen from 103.5 million pounds in 2014 to 77.2 million last year. The per-pound price of the fish at the dock has gone up 56 percent since 2014, and that price is eventually borne by people who buy lobsters. “The whole dynamic of the fishery has changed,” said Jeff Kaelin, who works in government relations for Lund’s Fisheries, which lands herring in Maine. Kaelin, and others who work in and study the fishery, thinks climate and the way the government manages herring may have played a role in the decline of catch. Atlantic herring are managed via a quota system, and regulators have slashed the quota by more than 40 percent since the early 2000s. Last year, herring were also difficult to catch far offshore, where they are typically caught in large amounts, but they were abundant closer to the New England coast. This led to a bait shortage, because fishermen are only allowed to catch a certain percentage of their quotas in inshore waters. Read the story here 10:15

Breaking the Records! Maine lobster landings set records in 2016

Maine fishermen landed more than 130 million pounds of lobster in 2016 valued at $533.1 million before paying out bonuses, the most ever landed at the highest value ever recorded. The value of the fishery jumped by more than $30 million since 2016 and made lobster the most valuable, and fastest growing industry, of all of the state’s commercial fisheries, which topped $700 million last year. After the state’s 19 lobster co-ops paid their bonus, the overall value of all Maine lobster reached $547.2 million, according to the state. “The historic landings reflect the hard work of our harvesters to build and sustain this fishery,” said Commissioner Patrick Keliher of Department of Marine Resources at the Annual Fishermen’s Forum in Rockport Friday. continue reading here and the story will be updated 11:59

Port Mouton fisherman thinks organized theft ring at work

Donaldson Fisher named his lobster boat “Positive Thinking”, but there weren’t many positive thoughts on his mind last month when he came to Port Mouton wharf to find 300 pounds of his lobster stolen. Fisher is one of three fishermen who had a total of 9,000 pounds of lobster stolen off wharves in Queens last month. A second victim in Port Mouton was Fisher’s brother, and he too had 300 pounds stolen. “We came in that night, put them overboard, because we put them overboard to wait for the higher price, you know this time of year the price keeps going up,” he says. The price currently for lobster is $9.75 a pound. “The next day a fella came up there and saw the cages to the wharf, I checked, my lobsters were stolen that quick.” continue reading the story here 10:15

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