PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine's lobster catch has started dropping off and prices at the dock have been inching up slowly just as the state's summer tourist season comes to a close.
Fishermen have been hauling fewer lobsters the past few weeks after several months of going gangbusters.
The lull in the harvest is coming about a month earlier than usual. But that's not too surprising given that the lobster catch started coming on strong a month earlier than normal, said Carl Wilson, lobster biologist for the Department of Marine Resources.
"If June was the new July and July was the new August, that would mean that August is the new September," Wilson said. "And we generally have kind of a slowdown in September."
With ocean waters warmer than usual, Maine's lobster catch came on strong in May, resulting in a glut on the market and driving down prices to levels of 20 years ago.
Many fishermen, especially in eastern Maine, reported traps loaded with lobsters like they had never seen before. Fishermen for the most part are now relieved to see catches return to closer-to-normal levels, said Sheila Dassatt of Belfast, who heads the Downeast Lobstermen's Association and fishes with her husband out of Belfast.
"It's leveling off the supply," Dassatt said. "We had so many lobsters. They're calling it an anomaly."
One reason the catch is slowing down is because there are fewer legal-sized lobsters on the ocean bottom after months of intensive fishing, Wilson said.
16 Week Curriculum With Instructions, Lesson Plans & CNG Conversion Kit