Lobster lovers, rejoice: Prices are falling

Thank booming populations due to global warming and strong Canadian production. Maine fishermen, however, aren't exactly happy.

By Aimee Picchi Aug 9, 2013 2:15PM

Lobster on a plate (© Alexandra Grablewski/Lifesize/Getty Images)Here's some good news for would-be Rockefellers. While prices of most luxury items continue to rise, lobster is taking a dive. 

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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Aug 9, 2013 5:19PM
The wholesale cost is coming down not the retail price. We will still pay a premium  at stores and restaurants because they will still want their profits.
Aug 9, 2013 5:09PM
might be so dock side but.....obviously...from the(usual) hi price I see at the grocery stores/restaurants---that infos has, once again, failed to reach those in charge and has NOT been trickled-down to the masses!
Aug 9, 2013 3:53PM
Everything's the fault of global warning, whatever it is, I'm all in for these little creatures.
Aug 9, 2013 4:22PM

And who says global warming is a bad thing?

The BEST thing about Maine are lucious lobsters and fried clams...MMMmmm  HEAVEN!
Aug 9, 2013 4:21PM
Well, Paul the Lobstahman in Marblehead is still getting $7.99 a pound for mediums.
Aug 9, 2013 7:25PM
strange how our favorite surf & turf restaurant still wants $35 a lb.
Aug 9, 2013 6:30PM

I'm so confused... the same researchers who are spouting off about global warming cannot explain why deep water temperatures are going down - not up.

Yet there are more lobsters because global warming is making the water warmer, oh, except where it's getting colder.

I guess I'll worry about it over a lobster dinner.



Aug 9, 2013 8:28PM
I hear the price of lettuce has doubled so I guess I will have to eat lobster instead. My BLT will now be a bacon , lobster and tomato sandwich.  
Aug 9, 2013 10:44PM
The only thing that trickles down is the bill.
Aug 9, 2013 10:43PM
The fishermen will hurt, the lobster farms will hurt. The consumers will hurt because the price paid for it at stores and restaurants won't change.
Anyone see what's wrong with this picture? Isn't the same thing happening with oil?
Aug 9, 2013 10:16PM
I paid $5.95 a pound for 2-3 pound lobsters in Kittery Maine a few years ago. Today at a market in Missouri they were $19.95. Who's making all the money?
Aug 9, 2013 6:36PM
Aug 9, 2013 10:01PM
Maine lobsters are a cold water crustacean. i.e., they do better in the typically cold waters of the Gulf of Maine. Same thing with Canadian lobsters. So this warm water thing makes no sense. That's  why the south coast of Cape Cod doesn't produce as well the north coast off Massachusetts Bay. Something else must be driving these numbers.
Aug 9, 2013 6:46PM

I prefer Alaskan King Crab, but Lobster's good too.

Think I'll order the Lobster Bisque!

Aug 9, 2013 8:19PM
You liberals will blame anything and everything on global warming! Unbelievable!
Aug 9, 2013 6:25PM
McLobster Sandwich.  I think I just threw up a little in my mouth...
Aug 9, 2013 6:13PM

The cheap prices aren't here there still 9$ lb. same as 5 years ago. I asked they said it cost to much to ship from the east to the west so no low prices here in Oregon or Wash. And i love lobster more than steak any day no fat all protein and easy to digest not like beef where it can sit for days in your stomach to digest.

Aug 12, 2013 4:14AM
this shows  you  that prices can come  down  if the  government and  big  money  don't regulate how  much is  produced  all GREED  people  not a darn  thing to  do  with  people
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