July 7, 2013

Our View: Softshell lobster season looks to be back to normal

But while that's good news, there should be lessons learned from last year's market glut.

Everyone in Maine's most lucrative fishery can breathe now: Last year's softshell lobster glut looks more like an anomaly than the new normal.

A year ago, an early molt by lobsters throughout Maine's waters meant fewer hard-shell lobsters to ship out of state alive, and too many for the local home and restaurant trade to absorb. With prices falling, lobstermen tried to dump as many pounds as they could on Canadian processors, leading to protests by lobstermen in Canada, who wanted to keep their own revenues from plummeting.

The more normal pattern this year should not distract from what we learned in 2012: Maine needs more processing facilities here, so the state's economy can get more benefit from its signature product.

And even small changes in the water temperature could have serious long-term economic effects. Climate change should be taken seriously.


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