Lobster prices high, but dropping as summer approaches

Lobster costs are high in the U.S. right now, but members of the industry expect them to come down soon as the Canadian catch sneaks up and America’s summer haul gets going.

One-pound lobsters, which Mainers call “chicks, ” are selling for about $12 per pound to consumers, which is a couple of dollars per pound more than six months ago. The U.S. lobster industry, based heavily in Maine, is in a slow mode as anglers 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 tell quite the opposite is true. Canada’s spring fishing season is just starting to heat up, which entails prices already are starting to way back down, industry members said.

U.S. lobstermen who were getting $10 per pound for their catch at the dock in March are now getting closer to$ 6, said Spencer Fuller, a lobster buyer and the president of the Maine Lobster Dealers’ Association. Consumers can expect to start be careful to ensure that price transformation show up at the seafood counter soon.

“You had weather , nothing around, fairly steady demand, it just drives the price crazy, ” Fuller told. “Now we’re heading toward normalcy.”

The wholesale price of 11/ 4-pound lobsters fell off $10.78 per pound in April to $8.51 per pound this month in the New England market, according to business publisher Urner Barry. It’s typical for lobster costs to fall from April to May, but the May price is still about $ 1.50 above average, according to Urner Barry data.

Maine’s lobster catch fell to about 111 million pounds last year after setting a record of 132.5 million pounds the previous year. It was the lowest total since 2011, though still much more than the typical catch in the 1990 s and early 2000 s. More than 80 percent of the nation’s catch typically comes to coast in Maine, although Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island also have significant lobster fisheries.

Fresh, live lobster is historically a summertime food in New England, but the growing globalization of the lobster business is starting to change that. That entails demand is sometimes higher in the cooler months once considered the lobster “off season.”

Exports to China also have increased, which has resulted in some worry about a potential lobster deficit in the U.S ., told Michael King, buying director of King’s Seafood Co ., which operates a distribution center in Santa Ana, California. American catch also appeared to suffer due to bad weather during the already-slow wintertime season this year, he said.

“It’s a double whammy of lower supply plus increase in demand, ” King said.

But there’s every reason to believe there will be plenty of lobster to go around this coming summertime, said Kristan Porter, president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association.

“Guys are getting gear ready to set, ” he told. “It’s perfectly a typical spring.”

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