8/9/2013 6:15 PM ET|
Lobster lovers, rejoice: Prices are falling
Thank booming populations due to global warming and strong Canadian production. Maine fishermen, however, aren't exactly happy.
The price of the crustaceous delicacy is feeling downward pressure because of two trends: global warming and more hauls from Canadian fishermen, notes Quartz.
Warming seas resulted in an explosion of lobsters, the site notes. (It's also creating lobster cannibalism -- scientists say the rising population has lobsters looking at each other as food.) Volumes have surged about 80% since 2008, the Financial Times notes.
With the bigger hauls in Maine and Canada leading to lower prices, that means trouble for Maine lobstermen.
"Overall profitability of the industry is suffering," Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen's Association, told the FT. "So we're in a situation where we're trying to move an ever-increasing supply chain into a weak market."
Prices paid to lobstermen fell to $2.69 per pound last year, from a peak of $4.63 in 2005. The break-even price for the fishermen is about $4 per pound, Quartz notes.
That's prompting some low-end restaurants to add the high-end food to their menus. McDonald's (MCD), for instance, offers the McLobster sandwich in some Northeast locations, and this year even expanded it to Ontario.
Canada processes the majority of Maine lobsters, which is also putting pressure on the U.S. lobster industry, according to Quartz. That's spurring Maine Governor Paul Le Page to push for the construction of new processing plants in his state.
Another issue for Maine lobster is the debate over hard shell versus soft shell. Maine fishermen tend to catch soft-shelled creatures, while Canadians harvest the hard-shelled variety, which they successfully market as superior, Quartz notes.
Regardless of which type you prefer, the fact is that lobster prices aren't likely to rebound anytime soon, given the continuing rise in ocean temperatures.
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
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