Canada lobster fishery delayed; Maine prices start to drop

Published on
April 30, 2015

While Maine lobster prices have been high throughout the winter and spring because of rough weather conditions, they started to decline this week in anticipation of the Canadian lobster fishery opening soon.

However, the Canadian lobster opening has been delayed because of harsh, icy conditions. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will not open Prince Edward Island and other Gulf areas until sometime in May, instead of 30 April.

“Due to ice conditions in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, the spring lobster fishery will not open this week,” Fisheries and Oceans Canada said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the ice conditions and more information will be made available in a subsequent notice to fish harvesters to be released on Monday, May 4, 2015.”

Even after the areas are open, lobstermen may not be able to set traps because of many harbors are still iced in.

Meanwhile, in Maine, “the price is starting to go down since the Canadian season is starting up pretty quickly,” Matt McAleney, GM of wholesale distributor New Meadows Lobster in Portland, Maine, told SeafoodSource.

Maine lobster prices had soared as high as USD 10 (EUR 8.90) a pound ex-vessel in early spring, but have since been declining. Some buyers report ex-vessel prices as low as USD 6 (EUR 5.34) a pound this week. The average price is USD 8.75 (EUR 7.79) to USD 9 (EUR 8.01) a pound FOB New England for 1-pound chicks.

“Supply was tight all winter and spring because the Northeast had one of the coldest, snowiest winters on record. This is the first time I can remember the whole harbor freezing over,” McAleney said. As a result of lobstermen not being able to get out much of the season, New Meadows received only a quarter of the supply the company would during a normal winter.

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