LMR – Lobster industry settles into seasonal slowdown

The January, post-holiday lobster market was about weather, a whale-protection closure, and Canadian lobster.

The US lobster market, all but stopped after the holidays, was in its usual January doldrums.  Bitterly cold weather and wind kept Maine and Massachusetts fishermen from being able to fish much from Dec. 27
through Jan. 14, when calls for this month’s Lobster Market Report got underway.

LMR_sd-SHOn top of that, Massachusetts lobstermen who fish the waters of the newly implemented Massachusetts Restricted Area had to bring their gear ashore by Feb. 1.  The annual seasonal closure, part of the latest adjustments to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan,runs through April 30.  It includes all of Cape Cod Bay as well as waters to the north and east.

Catches in southwest Nova Scotia fisheries (Lobster Fishing Areas 33 and 34) appeared to be slightly higher than last year though quality was not as good, depending on the area fished.  Considering southwest Nova’s generally poor quality and incredible volume, a Canadian exporter opined if processors had not taken product that couldn’t go to the live market, the Canadian lobster industry would have been in real trouble.

He wrote, “If there were ever a season that verified the processors’ primary importance to winter production, this (past) December was it.”

Nearly every Canadian export company had reduced sales, which reflected higher costs.  One exporter reported that he bought fewer lobsters in December and that he paid about C$.70 more per lb.

In addition to the increase in boat prices compared to a year ago, lobstermen were also benefiting from the astonishing drop in the cost of fuel, a dollar a gallon or more compared to last January.


Commercial Fisheries News appreciates the cooperation from within the lobster industry that makes this price report possible.  The following prices were paid to fishermen as of Jan. 13-16.  Prices include the Maine bonus or dividend except for co-ops…


Read the rest of this story and much, much more in the February issue of Commercial Fisheries News.  Buy this issue or Subscribe.

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