Maine lobstermen are eagerly anticipating this year’s peak season, when they will bring in the majority of a catch that was valued at USD 495 million (EUR 438 million) in 2015 – but they aren’t seeing any signs of it yet.
Historically, peak season for Maine lobster starts two weeks before or after July 4, but according to the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, those who work in the industry are anticipating “a typical start to the season and an orderly marketplace.”
"Our organization is composed of people who work with every aspect of the Maine lobster industry, and based on everything we've been hearing and seeing, we're expecting a stable market in 2016," said MLMC Executive Director Matt Jacobson.
Earlier this year, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute predicted an “extremely early” or “very early” start to the peak lobster season, meaning the organization predicted the landings uptick to take place in the 19 to 26 June window.
However, Sonny Beal, a fisherman and board member of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative (MLMC), said he hadn’t seen any evidence the high season has started yet.
"Being out on the water each day, I haven't seen an increase in what I'm catching to indicate an early harvest," Beal said. "I'm anticipating the start of the season to be on track with years past."
A more normal start to the season will give everyone working in the industry – from the lobstermen to the processors and distributors to the MLMC itself – a few more weeks to make preparations.
"We had a great 2015, and while we haven't seen a significant uptick in volume yet this year, when we do, we'll be ready to bring the unparalleled taste of Maine lobster to our customers around the globe," said Luke Holden, president and founder of Cape Seafood and Luke's Lobster.
The MLMC, now in its second year of existence, said it is ready to ramp up its successful “new shell” lobster campaign for the peak season, when it says Maine lobsters are at their sweetest and most tender.
"Lobster, just like produce, has a season when the flavor is at its best, and that is really what we are focused on – spreading the word about the most delicious lobster in the world and the hard-working individuals who bring it to your plate," Jacobson said.