Lobster Prices In Maine Hit 30-Year Low, Crushing Lobstermen

 @http://www.twitter.rs/JoeO_IBT
on July 16 2012 4:58 PM
Small-business owner Gorham grabs a lobster out of tote during delivery of live lobsters at his shop the "Redhook Lobster Pound" in New York
Small-business owner Ralph Gorham grabs a lobster out of a tote during a delivery of live lobsters at his shop the "Redhook Lobster Pound" in New York December 16, 2010. Gorham and his partner Susan Povich are awaiting the tax cuts the U.S. Congress is poised to extend for two more years. Like many small entrepreneurs, Povich says the tax cuts will help but will not dictate her business plan. REUTERS

If you're a big fan of boiling expensive crustaceans, you're in luck. What's been a dire season for Maine's lobstermen may give you a chance to enjoy the delicacy at a steep discount. Lobster prices have hit a 30-year low in some areas of Maine, as unusually warm water temperatures have increased the number of the glorified bugs available. Retail prices may soon follow, but don't expect them to match the 70 percent drop at the docks.

Lobster prices at the dock have fallen 70 percent below normal, reaching bargains as low as $1.25 a pound, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The bottoming out prices have led many lobstermen to give up the ghost temporarily.

I've never seen them tie up [their boats] as a group like this before, Randy Johnson, manager of the Winter Harbor Lobster Co-op, told WSJ.

The dire mood has apparently spread statewide, as ports are full of idle boats. The plummeting prices have made earning a living bordering on impossible.

For some people it will be disaster, they are going to go bankrupt, Bob Bayer, director of the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, told WSJ.

The average consumer might see their lobster fall to about $4, according to Bayer, and no more. Fixed costs and the difficulty of shipping the soft-shelled lobsters make a steeper drop nearly impossible. If they do drop below $4, fishermen will make back almost no money for their efforts.

Share this article