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Bumper crop of lobsters this year? [moved from Boston board]

Chefpaulo May 4, 2009 01:04 PM

Not a reply but a question. It seems we're having a bumper crop year for lobster (and, BTW, blackberries) and was wondering why. Are migratory patterns changing due to warming or what? Any marine biologists want to chime in here?

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  1. okra RE: Chefpaulo May 4, 2009 01:47 PM

    Blackberries? We don't pick them til August, nary a blossom out yet.

    As for lobsters, couple a good steady supply with a recession that has less $$ in people's pockets for a perishable commodity like this, and you've got the makings of a glut.

    My $0.02. Your mileage may vary.

    1 Reply
    1. re: okra
      meadandale RE: okra May 5, 2009 09:31 AM

      Yep, this is the same reason that I can now get whole tenderloins at Costco for under $7/lb. The high end food market is getting hit particularly hard.

    2. ScubaSteve RE: Chefpaulo May 4, 2009 02:02 PM

      lobster stocks have been up the past few years mostly due to regulation and the price of diesel. i dive quite frequently around Cape Anne and some days i could use a rake to collect them.

      4 Replies
      1. re: ScubaSteve
        StriperGuy RE: ScubaSteve May 4, 2009 02:09 PM

        I'm just a free diver, but might have to put on my wet suit once it warms up a bit.

        1. re: ScubaSteve
          Bob Dobalina RE: ScubaSteve May 4, 2009 02:10 PM

          Those buggers are that plentiful!? I had no idea.

          1. re: ScubaSteve
            Passadumkeg RE: ScubaSteve May 4, 2009 04:23 PM

            Dive for lobbers in Maine equals getting shot. Boat price is still low in Maine, $3-3.50 / lb. The season just began in New Brunswick. Price may drop further w/ glut.

            1. re: Passadumkeg
              ScubaSteve RE: Passadumkeg May 4, 2009 05:26 PM

              i would Love for Maine to loosen up and allow recreational harvesting of lobsters but i don't see that happening. NH floated a bill a few years back to allow it but i think it just petered out in the legislature.

          2. Fritter RE: Chefpaulo May 6, 2009 04:05 AM

            It would be nice to think the new size regulations are having that dramatic of an impact so quickly but it's probably the economy. Like some one else mentioned I picked up tenderloins at Costco the other day for under $7 a pound.

            16 Replies
            1. re: Fritter
              ScubaSteve RE: Fritter May 6, 2009 05:47 AM

              for Massachusetts lobstermen (divers included) the size restrictions mean we can no longer take immature lobsters, large breeder lobsters, or lobsters with eggs. i do feel that that has had a measurable impact on lobster stocks in the waters i fish.

              1. re: ScubaSteve
                Passadumkeg RE: ScubaSteve May 6, 2009 06:07 AM

                These size rules have been in effect in Maine since 1911, but have only recently been adopted by other surrounding states and provinces. Maine is also reducing the trap limit again and reducing the number of licenses allowed per zone. But what really has the lobstermen scared shitless is the lobster virus that lurks down the NY/Ct coast. The cod are gone what would happen to the coast of Maine if the was a lobster die off? "Vacationland" indeed.
                I've got a 5 gal bucket of lobbers on order for Mom's Day and the return of Youngest Keg (bio major & hound) from one of my students, a very bright kid w/ absolutely no plans for college. A 5th generation lobsterman, he just bought a new 36' boat, but at 16 complains how much his back and knees hurt. Scary thought. He's setting his inshore traps now for the summer and worries about the low boat prices.
                Funny to think I'll have a bucket of lobsters and 10 lbs of steamers sitting in the walk in cooler of the school cafeteria on Friday.
                Summer is arriving.
                Chester Pike's Galley in Sullivan, Me opened this morning for the season. If on rt 1 N stop in for their lobster or crab cake eggs Benedict and the best corned beef hash I've ever eaten.

                1. re: Passadumkeg
                  CindyJ RE: Passadumkeg May 6, 2009 06:55 AM

                  I thought I wanted to vacation in Provence at summer's end this year, but now, all of a sudden, I hear a voice beckoning me back to the coast of Maine. One of the best things about the home we rented in Trenton last summer was the lobster steamer on the deck.

                  1. re: CindyJ
                    Passadumkeg RE: CindyJ May 6, 2009 07:06 AM

                    Let me know if you do indeed come. My wife works at Trenton Elementary School and we live on Bayside. Just bring me some scrapple and apple butter.

                    1. re: Passadumkeg
                      CindyJ RE: Passadumkeg May 6, 2009 09:28 AM

                      What... and no mushrooms?

                      1. re: CindyJ
                        Passadumkeg RE: CindyJ May 6, 2009 03:51 PM

                        No, mushrooms. We pick them here!

                2. re: ScubaSteve
                  James Cristinian RE: ScubaSteve May 6, 2009 08:21 AM

                  What is immature? I live in Houston so I don't get the fresh boat lobsters, be we get live ones allegedly from Maine. I like the smaller ones, 1-1/4 pound, the bigger ones are tougher. Does this hold true up there?

                  1. re: James Cristinian
                    StriperGuy RE: James Cristinian May 6, 2009 08:35 AM

                    Not sure what they mean by immature, but in Massachusetts it is illegal to take lobster that weigh less then about a pound (it is actually done by measuring the carapace.) Maine has similar regulations.

                    1. re: James Cristinian
                      ScubaSteve RE: James Cristinian May 6, 2009 10:06 AM

                      from the back of an eye-socket to the end on the carapace they must be at least 3 1/4" which usually translates into about a pound.

                      i don't buy that whole bigger is tougher. i've had some bigguns' that were over 5#s and as long as you cook them properly they are pretty much the same, except you can carve the tail like a roast.

                      1. re: ScubaSteve
                        StriperGuy RE: ScubaSteve May 6, 2009 10:20 AM

                        Bigger is DEFINITELY not tougher. Urban legend. I help knock off a 5 pounder once that was awesome.

                        I do think that sometimes a big un can spend to much time in a tank at a store that does not sell them fast enough and then you might get a flabby critter.

                        1. re: StriperGuy
                          ScubaSteve RE: StriperGuy May 6, 2009 12:55 PM

                          this little bugger wasn't tough at all...


                          1. re: ScubaSteve
                            Sal Vanilla RE: ScubaSteve May 6, 2009 05:30 PM

                            Sweet one! Some group ate well that evening!

                          2. re: StriperGuy
                            Sal Vanilla RE: StriperGuy May 6, 2009 05:29 PM

                            A big bug you catch in the wild will be every bit as sweet and soft as a small one. A tanked giant may very well have lost weight while floating about in the tank... that means big shell with a tiny guy rambling around inside.

                          3. re: ScubaSteve
                            Fritter RE: ScubaSteve May 6, 2009 12:28 PM

                            I've had plenty of memorable five pounders. Chicks can have quirks of their own. I've had a few with next to nothing in them.
                            Major bummer.
                            I'm glad to hear the new regs are having an impact. No more 15 pounders setting in the tanks waiting for the Free Willy fund.

                            1. re: Fritter
                              LindaWhit RE: Fritter May 6, 2009 12:38 PM

                              And I was a lucky participant in eating a Somerville restaurant's 12 pounder a few years ago as a birthday gift from the owner to my friend. Five or six of us made a damn good dent in it. Sweet, and most definitely *not* tough.

                          4. re: James Cristinian
                            LStaff RE: James Cristinian May 7, 2009 06:44 AM

                            I prefer lobsters in the 2.5 - 3 lb. range. I don't think they much more tougher than a smaller lobster to really make a difference, but are much more worthwhile and satisfying to me. Those itty bitty soft shells that are ubiquitous in the summer in New England are said to have sweeter meat, but are so full of seawater, that is all I taste - and the two-bite tail and one-bite claw is such a tease - no matter how many you eat. Mainers think I'm nutz for preferring the larger bugs and always give me that "flatlander" look with a half an eye-roll when I tell them my preference.

                      2. Passadumkeg RE: Chefpaulo May 6, 2009 03:54 PM

                        Large lobsters are the breeders. You will never find a legal 5 lb lobster in Maine, about 3 lbs is the limit. It is one of the reasons the catch is so stable over the last 20 years.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Passadumkeg
                          Fritter RE: Passadumkeg May 6, 2009 04:12 PM

                          I've bought several five pound lobsters in ME over the last five years. Last season was the first year IR not seeing large bugs in the pounds. Legal or Canadian? No idea but most of the pounds I have been in all had five pounders in the past.
                          Last year 2-2.5 was about the biggest I saw.

                          1. re: Fritter
                            Passadumkeg RE: Fritter May 6, 2009 04:17 PM

                            There has been a upper size limit for years. I'll find out for sure the exact size.

                            1. re: Passadumkeg
                              Fritter RE: Passadumkeg May 6, 2009 04:29 PM

                              "I'll find out for sure the exact size"

                              About 13 -14 years ago my wife and I flew out to Provincetown, MA. I recall them having a 15 pounder in the tank and the staff was asking for donations so they could buy it from the owner and set it free.

                              1. re: Passadumkeg
                                Fritter RE: Passadumkeg May 7, 2009 07:38 AM

                                Didn't NH just start talking about complying with the size limits last year?
                                Has Canada complied yet or are they still fighting about it?

                                1. re: Fritter
                                  Passadumkeg RE: Fritter May 7, 2009 04:07 PM

                                  I understood the NH was complying and I thought others were too. My student gave me 6 lobsters after school and damn, I forgot to ask about upper size limits! Manana. I cannot remember 5 lb lobsters being legal in Maine since '86 when I worked 2 seasons as a sternman lobstering.

                                  1. re: Passadumkeg
                                    Fritter RE: Passadumkeg May 8, 2009 04:06 AM

                                    I'm just wondering if in years past when I would get the 5 pounders in ME if the pounds weren't just picking up some of the bigger bugs from Canada or NH. I did a quick search and all I could find from NH was that it looks like they were still proposing compliance last year.
                                    In either event last year the biggest I saw was 2-2.5#.
                                    If that's helping the stocks then I'm all for it.
                                    I got some decent shots of Lobstermen at work last year.

                                    1. re: Fritter
                                      Passadumkeg RE: Fritter May 8, 2009 10:41 AM

                                      In Maine the largest legal lobster is 5" across the carapice which translates to about 3-3.5 lbs.

                                      1. re: Passadumkeg
                                        Fritter RE: Passadumkeg May 8, 2009 11:15 AM

                                        Do you mean legal to catch or legal to sell? I'm just curious because it could change my view of some of the places I have purchased from.
                                        Either way that's good information and I appreciate the update. I'd hate to be buying breeders even if they were legal and from Canada or NH.

                                        1. re: Fritter
                                          Passadumkeg RE: Fritter May 9, 2009 05:12 PM

                                          Legal to catch. Every Maine lobsterman has a small brass scale w/ a "hook" on one end. Place the hook in the eye socket and measure the length of the carapace. Shorts are under about 3 inches and a bit and oversize are over 5. As I said before, Maine's catch has been amazingly consistent over the last 25 years. The big fear is disease.

                        2. NYCkaren RE: Chefpaulo May 7, 2009 07:18 AM

                          My local farmer's market has lobsters from the Long Island Sound this year and they usually don't. Does that mean the critters are more plentiful in the whole region? Fine with me if so.

                          1. w
                            wontonfm RE: Chefpaulo May 9, 2009 04:57 PM

                            i've been wondering about this. this week in Toronto many supermarkets have lobster on sale for $6.lb. also blackberries have been ridiculously cheap for the past month.


                            1. Fritter RE: Chefpaulo May 10, 2009 06:07 AM

                              Lobsters here were $7.99# this weekend. :)

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Fritter
                                treb RE: Fritter May 10, 2009 12:52 PM

                                $5.99 at Market Basket, they'll be $3.99 again this summer.

                              2. David A. Goldfarb RE: Chefpaulo May 22, 2009 11:40 AM

                                I just saw $6.99/lb in my neighborhood for local New York lobster, and someone on another board mentioned that he'd seen lobster for $5.99/lb at Fairway in Red Hook, though he didn't mention the source.

                                Unable to sit idly by and let our hard working local lobstermen go hungry, I headed down to the Bowery and picked up a really big stock pot, purely as a matter of charity, you see.

                                Blackberry clafoutis and blackberry muffins and blackberries straight from the container--that was two weeks ago.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: David A. Goldfarb
                                  MMRuth RE: David A. Goldfarb May 22, 2009 11:45 AM

                                  May I ask where in your neighborhood?

                                  1. re: MMRuth
                                    David A. Goldfarb RE: MMRuth May 22, 2009 11:51 AM

                                    Iavarone's on 69th St. and Grand Ave. in Maspeth, Queens.

                                    UPDATE: Alas, I just went by there, and they were sold out. They said maybe they'd have more next week.

                                    1. re: David A. Goldfarb
                                      Fritter RE: David A. Goldfarb Jun 4, 2009 08:12 AM

                                      $5.99# here this wek, WOOOT!

                                      1. re: Fritter
                                        treb RE: Fritter Jun 4, 2009 09:18 AM

                                        $4.99 this week at, as Suba would say, Ghetto Basket.

                                2. dinaofdoom RE: Chefpaulo Jul 20, 2009 12:27 PM

                                  my family members are teasing their texan-bound niece with $2.50/lb lobster prices.
                                  is this true?! (they are in MA and vacation in ME).
                                  if this is true, does anyone know of a mail-order option so i can gorge myself accordingly?
                                  the cheapest i've seen so far is about $7.50 /lb for 1 lb chickens, plus shipping, which clearly is not a good price compared to $2.50...

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