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May 4, 2009 01:04 PM

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

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. 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

      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. 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

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

        1. re: ScubaSteve

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

          1. re: ScubaSteve

            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

              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. 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

              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

                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

                  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

                    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: CindyJ

                        No, mushrooms. We pick them here!

                2. re: ScubaSteve

                  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

                    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

                      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

                        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: ScubaSteve

                            Sweet one! Some group ate well that evening!

                          2. re: StriperGuy

                            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

                            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

                              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

                            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. 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

                          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

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

                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                              "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

                                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

                                  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

                                    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

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

                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                        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

                                          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. 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.