PORTLAND, Maine - Interstate fishing regulators could select new restrictions for the declining southern New England lobster fishery by May.
Lobster fishing is experiencing a boom, and prices have also been high. But the species has dwindled in the waters off southern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, where it was once plentiful.

A sternman holds a lobster caught off South Bristol, Maine.
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File

The LePage administration wants to jack up fees for commercial fishing licenses. Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher says the revenues would go into research, and meet the governor’s directive for a flat budget.

Lobster Marketing Group Reports Successful Campaign

Jan 18, 2017
Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press file

A $2-million-a-year investment by the state into a targeted lobster promotion effort paid off big for the industry last year, according to the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, which launched an aggressive campaign to boost soft-shell lobster sales.

Matt Jacobson, executive director at the collaborative, says a new report on the marketing campaign revealed that the initiative was responsible for 1 billion earned social media impressions — and some surprising new takes on serving lobsters.

A Spruce Head fisherman is facing penalties of up to $500 and the suspension of his harvester’s license after state marine patrol officers charged him with fishing beyond his trap limit. Jeff Nichols, a spokesman for the state Department of Marine Resources, says fifty-two year old Brian Tarbox was only licensed to fish with 800 traps when he was stopped by marine patrol officers.

Herring Shortage May Affect the Price of Lobster

Jul 6, 2016

Usually a Maine lobsterman can choose to either fish or cut bait, but as the result of a herring shortage, neither may be an option for awhile. Local lobster co-op managers say fishermen may have to pay more for imported frozen bait from New Brunswick until the herring spawning season ends and stocks return to normal levels off the Georges Bank. In the meantime, new state harvest restrictions for herring fishermen may also be implemented.

On the Edge still

Maine Public TV Air Time:
Sunday, July 10 at 4:00 pm

This documentary tells the story of lobster-fishing communities on Maine's year-round islands. At the turn of the last century, there were 300 inhabited, unbridged islands in Maine; now there are 15. At present the lobsters are plentiful, but islanders worry about the future of the fishery and the realities faced by their children and grandchildren.

Tom Porter / MPBN

A warm winter has Maine’s lobster industry bracing for an early start to the spring molting season.

Scientists say it is likely to start earlier than the norm, but they don’t expect a repeat of the 2012 season, when a record glut of soft-shell lobster kept prices low and hurt lobstermen.

But some in the industry have made strategic investments designed to offset the effects of any potential overabundance of supply.

Tom Porter / MPBN

AUGUSTA, Maine - A legislative committee has voted unanimously in favor of a measure that would make the lobster the state crustacean.

The bill was introduced on behalf of a third-grade class at Brewer Community School. Ninety-nine of the students made the trip to Augusta and got a first hand look at how the state lawmaking process works.

One third grader, who identified herself as Natalie, presented testimony to the State and Local Government Committee.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine officials say the state's lifeblood commercial fishing industry once again broke records for the value of marine species at the dock in 2015.

Fishermen in the state topped $631 million with their catch last year, surpassing the previous year's total by more than $33 million and topping $600 million for the first time. Last year's total catch also broke previous records.

Lobsters constituted more than three-quarters of the total value at more than $495 million, a record for the state's signature item.

PORTLAND, Maine - Two studies will try to determine the economic impact of Maine lobsters and how warming ocean waters impact the crustacean's biology.

The state Department of Marine Resource is asking for proposals to measure the impact of the warming of the Gulf of Maine on lobsters' biology, populations and susceptibility to disease. Another study will look to measure their economic value beyond the money paid to lobstermen.

The unusually warm weather in New England has made for an unusually long lobstering season in Maine.

The mild weather means there is an abundance of lobsters in the Gulf of Maine and many lobstermen are continuing to fish well into December, when — in years past — freezing water and stormy seas would have sent most to shore, the Associated Press reports. It adds:

As this year's lobster season winds down, marine resources officials say the catch is likely to rival the 124 million pounds hauled in 2014.

By Patrick Whittle, The Associated Press
PORTLAND, Maine - The lobster population has plummeted to the lowest levels on record in southern New England. But it has climbed to heights never before seen in northern New England, in the cold waters off Maine.

By Patrick Whittle, The Associated Press
PORTLAND, Maine - American lobster prices are rising as the summer fishing season gets off to a slow start in New England.

Maine lobstermen and retailers say the summer staple is selling in the $6 or $8 per pound range to consumers. That is an average increase of about $1 to $2 from last year. Lobstermen are also getting about a dollar more per pound for lobster at the dock.

China's rising middle class, along with Maine lobsters' big, meaty claws and relatively low price point, are helping fuel a big surge in American lobster sales in China.

China also buys lobsters from several other countries, but Robert Bayer of the University of Maine's Lobster Institute says the price of American lobster is very competitive.

"The primary competition in Asia in general is lobster from Australia and New Zealand, which has always been priced much, much higher than American lobster," Bayer says.  "So we're able to compete on price, bigtime."