The lobster population in the Gulf of Maine has been doing quite well in recent years, which is why I can get chicken lobsters for $4 a pound or sometimes even less! But this seems to be a short-term trend; the warming north Atlantic has pretty much killed off lobsters south of Cape Cod, and the Portland Press-Herald reports that scientists think the population in the rest of the gulf has peaked and could fall at least 40 percent in coming decades:
“In our model, the Gulf of Maine started to cross over the optimal water temperature for lobster sometime in 2010, and the lobster population peaked three or four years ago,” said Andrew Pershing, GMRI’s chief scientific officer and one of the authors of the study. “We’ve seen this huge increase in landings, a huge economic boom, but we are coming off of that peak now, returning to a more traditional fishery.”
Industry leaders have been girding themselves for a decline in landings ever since the recent boom began. While not everybody believes the decline will happen that fast or fall so much, most lobstermen admit the impact that warming water has had on their fishery, said Dave Cousens, the president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. It drove up landings by pushing lobsters into the Gulf of Maine, and over time it will drive lobsters out to colder offshore waters or the Canadian Maritimes, he said.
It’s a good piece. The Press-Herald covers the lobster industry really, really well. Plus, it’s got an awesome photo of a diver with a gigantic lobster.