Shedders dominate, price drops on spotty catches
The July lobster market reflected the arrival of shedders as the dominant grade of lobster. This year, though, the shedders did so in a spotty, patchy way rather than in an overwhelming glut, as they did last year. In fact, some dealers thought this year’s shedder volume was down as much as 40%.
The percentage of hard shells in the catch was fading fast, down to 5% in many places. But their value was increasing.
A week to 10 days before the July 9 reporting week, the Maine old shell price rose a dollar. Once Canadian dealers saw that price jump, a US exporter said, they followed suit, and Canadian prices jumped close to a dollar almost overnight. This price jump was for the 15 million lbs of old shell product being held in long-term storage in tubes and trays in Canada, where lobster fishing was essentially over until the fall. A New Brunswick processor, though, added that the price also went up because the volume of shedders is not as heavy this year as it was last year.
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