AP NEWS

Drop in Maine lobster catch might not be as bad as feared

January 9, 2020 GMT
FILE-In this Aug. 15, 2018 file photo, a lobster walks by a lobster trap on the ocean floor off the coast of Biddeford, Maine. Initial reports show last year's harvest was about 100 million pounds of lobster, about a drop of 20 million pounds from the previous year, according to the Maine Dept. of Marine Resources. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, files)
FILE-In this Aug. 15, 2018 file photo, a lobster walks by a lobster trap on the ocean floor off the coast of Biddeford, Maine. Initial reports show last year's harvest was about 100 million pounds of lobster, about a drop of 20 million pounds from the previous year, according to the Maine Dept. of Marine Resources. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, files)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The state with the largest fishing industry for lobster likely experienced a drop in catch last year, but the dip in harvest was probably not as dramatic as initially feared.

Patrick Keliher, commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, told Maine Public that initial reports show a harvest of about 100 million pounds of lobster. That would be a drop of nearly 20 million pounds from last year, but still a much higher number than the industry was used to in the 1990s and 2000.

The season initially looked like it could produce a substantial drop in catch, but Maine’s lobstermen finished strong, Keliher said. The price for Maine lobster was also strong, he said.

“We’ll be down many millions of pounds this year,” Keliher told Maine Public. “But value is up some, so that’s a good thing.”

It’s possible for the state’s lobster catch to be slowed down by lobsters shedding their shells late in the year. The biggest surge in catch happens after many lobsters lose their old shells and reach legal harvesting size.