Trajectory of Maine Lobster Landings Spell Trouble Ahead for the Industry

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Lobster fishers in Maine have had banner years lately. Many never even fathomed they could make so much money. Multi-million dollar custom-built lobster boats and brand new F350 diesel pickup trucks seem to be everywhere. But if you look at a chart of lobster landings in Maine, the trajectory of the catch since 2016 is very troubling.

In 2016, they landed a record 132 million pounds of lobster, but landings have fallen dramatically since then. As the annual catch rises in places further north like Newfoundland, Quebec, and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, landings in Maine are trending in the opposite direction. It is no secret that as the oceans warm, lobsters seek colder water found further and further north every year. We have already watched lobsters disappear from Long Island Sound. Southern Massachusetts lobstermen are suffering the same fate today. In the not too distant future (probably less than a decade), Maine lobstermen will wonder where all their lobsters went. Yes, it is a party today, but anyone who has worked on the water knows the party doesn’t last forever.