Higher lobster prices could be sign of things to come

FILE - In this June 20, 2014, file photo, Frank Carlson breaks a claw off a lobster at the Sea Hag Seafood processing plant in St. George, Maine. Retail prices for lobsters have remained high into September 2016 with consumers typically paying a few dollars more than the previous year. A market analyst said the growing demand for processed lobster products could keep the price high in the future. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

PORTLAND, Maine — Lobster prices in North America recently reached their highest point in more than 10 years and could become the typical bottom line as demand for processed lobster meat grows.

The wholesale price of a 1¼-pound hard-shelled lobster at the end of August reached $8.50, the highest price for that month since 2005, according to Urner Barry commodities publishing service.

Retail prices have remained high into September, with consumers typically paying $9 to $11 per pound for a live lobster — a few dollars more than a year ago at this time. The high prices are a product of several factors, including the ebb and flow of lobstermen's catch and the demand from Asian countries that are developing a taste for the New England treat.

But one factor — the growing demand for processed lobster products such as lobster rolls and lobster macaroni and cheese — could keep the price high in the future, said market analyst John Sackton, who publishes a website called SeafoodNews.com. The growing interest in the products has spurred demand in parts of the country where lobster is less common in restaurants than it is in New England, he said.

"Lobster trucks are starting up in Los Angeles and places like that," Sackton said. "I think, long term, there's going to be more of a shift where consumption of lobster is going to be predicated on processed products and less on live products."

The growth of the lobster processing industry in Maine, whose fishermen produce the country's largest catches, has helped enable the shift toward processed lobster products. Maine's industry was barely existent at all 25 years ago and now includes 15 firms that process millions of pounds of meat every year. Canada also has a significant lobster fishery and its processing industry is much larger.

This year, the typical autumn lobster price dip that happens after tourists flee New England's summer resort towns is still likely but could be less severe, Sackton said.

Alex Todd, a lobsterman who fishes out of Chebeague Island in Maine, said fishermen like him have gotten slightly more per pound this year. But it will take continued heavy catches to provide the processors with enough product, he said.

U.S. lobstermen caught more than 100 million pounds of lobster for the first time in 2009 and have exceeded that amount every year since. Maine and other coastal New England states account for most of the catch.

"The processors, they can't work unless we get a higher volume," Todd said.

People also read these

Police make arrest in fatal shooting at Caribbean...

Sep 6, 2016

Police say they've made an arrest in connection with one of two fatal shootings during a New York...

Study details sugar industry attempt to shape...

Sep 12, 2016

A new study details how the sugar industry worked to downplay emerging science linking sugar and...

Kevin Bacon loves Baconfest invite, is sorry he...

Sep 12, 2016

A Vermont town has struck out in its attempt to bring home the bacon _ Kevin Bacon, that is

Australian Parliament gets bill to set up gay...

Sep 14, 2016

Australia's prime minister has introduced legislation to Parliament to allow a public but...

Berlin attack victims included Israeli, Pole and...

Dec 22, 2016

Six of the 12 dead from the Berlin truck attack have been identified as Germans, three others from...

About Us

The World Insiders brings you exclusive coverage from across the globe in a timely, easy to consume format sourced directly from our regional media partners.

Contact us: sales[at]theworldinsiders.com

Subscribe Now!