Lobster prices in Maine have taken a dive after the state has been experiencing a lobster surplus, leaving consumers with something to celebrate while lobstermen sob to the seas. Small soft-shell lobsters in Portland have hit an unusual low, with prices ranging from $3.79 to $4.99. These prices are almost less than per-pound prices of bologna at many supermarket delis.
Local seafood salesmen are saying consumers are eating up these low lobster prices. Docks Seafood owner Bob Coppersmith said he has even struck up a deal of five small live lobsters for $25, something that is much lower than the average sale price.
“One gentleman came in and said, So I get five lobsters for $25. What’s the catch?’ ” Coppersmith said in an interview with The Inquister. “I said there’s no catch. He said, ‘You’re going to put five lobsters in a bag and not weigh them and give me them to me for 25 bucks?’ He just couldn’t believe it.”
Fourth of July usually marks the beginning of Maine’s lobster season, as lobsters begin shedding the hard shells and replacing them with soft shells. Soft-shell lobsters sell more easily, as cracking them open is less of a hassle and can be done by hand. The lobster prices for these are much lower than expected.
As lobstermen have been catching more lobsters than they need, this causes consumers to get the good end of the lobster prices supply-and-demand stick while lobstermen are left less than pleased.
Since these all-time low lobster prices have begun, Facebook pages of local fisherman groups, such as Maine’s Lobstermen’s Association, have begun expressing frustration and anger over the overabundance of lobsters and, consequently, lower lobster prices. This caused Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher to release a statement on Monday stating that they are working to end the lower lobster prices problem.
“We have heard that fishermen are seeking to impose a de facto shutdown of the fishery and coercing others into complying by threatening to cut off their gear. Any such actions will be met with targeted and swift enforcement,” he said.