Maine seafood value tops USD 700 million

Published on
March 6, 2017

Maine’s commercially harvested seafood topped USD 700 million (EUR 659 million) in overall value in 2016, an all-time high for the U.S. state.

The increase of nearly USD 100 million (EUR 94.2 million) from 2015 was led by the lobster industry, according to new preliminary data from the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

The value of Maine’s lobster fishery soared by more than USD 30 million (EUR 28.3 milion), to more than USD 533 million (EUR 502 million). When factoring in bonuses paid to harvesters, the overall landed value reached more than USD 547 million (EUR 515 million).

The average value per pound stayed higher than USD 4 (EUR 3.77), at USD 4.07 (EUR 3.83) per pound. Maine fishermen landed nearly 131 million pounds of lobster in 2016, a record. It was also the fifth year in a row that lobster harvesters landed over 120 million pounds.

“The historic landings reflect the hard work of our harvesters to build and sustain this fishery,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “The exceptional value is the result of growing demand by consumers who appreciate both the quality of Maine lobster and the long-standing commitment to sustainable harvesting practices that characterize this fishery.”

Meanwhile, the overall value of Atlantic herring, the primary bait source for Maine’s lobster industry, spiked by more than USD 5 million (EUR 4.71 million) to reach USD 19 million (EUR 17.9 million).

“The dollar amount ranked it as Maine’s second-most valuable fishery, despite a nearly 11 percent decline in landings,” DMR said in a statement.

“Overall herring landings declined in 2016 as a result of a lack of fish off-shore, resulting in demand that far surpassed supply,” said Commissioner Keliher.

Maine’s softshell clam industry dropped 13.4 percent to USD 15.66 million (EUR 14.76 million). There was also a 20 percent decrease in pounds of clams harvested.

“One significant factor that contributed to the decline in softshell clam landings was a closure of harvest areas between the Canadian border and Mount Desert Island associated with Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP) late in the season,” said Kohl Kanwit, Director of the DMR Bureau of Public Health.

While the closure was minimized as much as possible through rigorous testing, many areas were closed for two to four weeks to ensure public health and safety, DMR said.

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