Earthwhile

Support the news

As Price For Catch Falls, Maine Lobstermen Seek Ways To Prevent Crash

In this May 29 photo, Eric Pray weighs a lobster in his garage in Portland, Maine. The coronavirus shutdown had prompted Pray to sell his product direct to customers. (Robert F. Bukaty/AP)
In this May 29 photo, Eric Pray weighs a lobster in his garage in Portland, Maine. The coronavirus shutdown had prompted Pray to sell his product direct to customers. (Robert F. Bukaty/AP)

Dock prices for lobster in Maine are dropping as low as $2.30 a pound, and lobstermen and regulators are looking at options to prevent a full-fledged crash.

Anti-glut tactics might include limiting days at sea, narrowing size limits or barring the catch of single-clawed lobsters to reduce the overall haul.

In an online meeting Monday, Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher told Downeast lobstermen that he's found no consensus on the best course of action.

Lobsterman Jim Hanscom, of Bar Harbor, said he is wary of intervention by Gov. Janet Mills.

"This governor scares me on a lot of levels, and the idea of her having the ability on shutting this fishery down or stopping dealers from buying, I think it's just dangerous," he said.

Keliher was scheduled to brief Mills on the issue Tuesday, but said he doesn't believe she would invoke broad executive authority without good reason.

Keliher also warned that Maine bait fishermen who are going after menhaden as an alternative to the struggling herring fishery should be careful to avoid creating a glut and dumping unsellable fish overboard, because that could invite regulatory action.

This story is a production of the New England News Collaborative and was originally published by Maine Public Radio.

Related:

+Join the discussion
TwitterfacebookEmail

Support the news