Maine’s Fishermen Facing A Lobsterpalooza Dilemma Of Epic Proportions

Want a lobster? Go get it! In fact, why not buy like, seven of them? Do it, really — Maine’s fisherfolk will thank you. Warm weather and good conservation techniques have primed Maine’s waters for a glut of lobster unlike anything the fishing population has seen. It could turn out to be a record lobster harvest — but with this kind of glut, where are all those lobsters going to go?

Because of the super warm conditions, soft-shell lobsters hit the market a month early in June. And because there were so many of them, it’s turned into an overabundance, reports the New York Times. In other words, too much of a good thing is actually possible in this case.

Once restaurants and grocery stores have their fill of lobster, the prices fishermen receive for them keeps dipping, to where it’s now at a 40-year low. That makes it difficult for lobstermen to cover the costs of heading out to collect those lobsters, and when they do, they work hard at bringing in as many as they can to try and at least sell a high volume to get more money.

It’s gotten so rough, some lobstermen have stayed off the water for days at a time to protest low prices and try and ease the lobster glut. That didn’t work, and many couldn’t afford to keep from fishing for too long.

For the lobster-loving consumer, these low prices are usually passed on when they’re bought live at supermarkets. But since most people seem to like going out to restaurants for their lobster and not deal with all the muss and fuss of lowering the little guys into their boiling, watery graves, savings aren’t as common at many seafood joints.

So if consumers aren’t really saving on the whole, and lobstermen are having to work harder to make enough money… does anybody win? No one is really sure, prompting the lobstermen and state officials to try and come up with new markets and new lobster recipes to get this glut moving.

But if you usually avoid the live lobster tank because of high prices, now might be the time to squelch your fear of cooking lobster at home and take a cruise by the tank.

And now, we dance:

In Maine, More Lobsters Than They Know What to Do With [New York Times]