Lighter Lobster Catch in 2014 Means Higher Prices

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The 2014 lobster fishing season appears to have resulted in a lower total catch than the previous two years, meaning slightly higher prices for consumers but it remained a productive year, lobstermen say.

This year's catch was robust, but fishermen and industry officials said they don't expect to touch the numbers of the previous two years. As a result, the value of lobsters rose, and so did their price tag in markets.

The high catches of 2012 and 2013 seemed to depress value somewhat, as the $2.69 per pound lobstermen averaged for their hauls was the lowest since 1994, state records show. The 2013 price of $2.89 per pound was the fourth lowest in that same time period. Some lobstermen reported a slightly higher price in 2014, said Sheila Dassatt, executive director of the Downeast Lobstermen's Association.

"We are not hearing any unhappy complaints this year," Dassatt said. "They were happy that they didn't have to catch as many in order to make as much money."

The season typically picks up after the bulk of lobsters shed shells and reach legal catch size. Fishermen said this year was characterized by a slightly later shed than 2012 and 2013, when the shed took place in June.

This year's shed appeared to happen in mid-July, when catches started to pick up, said Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen's Association. She and others in the industry said this year's season seemed like a reversion to a more typical lobstering year, while the early sheds and huge catches of 2012 and 2013 were likely anomalies.

"I think the expectation is it's probably not a record year, but probably very strong," McCarron said. "The overall signal of the fishery was much more in line with what we typically see."

State officials will provide official data for the lobster fishing year, which runs all year long but peaks in the summer, in 2015.

Live Lobster Cargo Killed When Tractor-trailer Crashes with 40,000 pounds

Lobster Spill

Travel on the Harbour Bridge in Saint John was reduced to one lane in both directions Thursday morning due to an accident Wednesday night involving a tractor-trailer filled with live lobster.

Nobody was injured, but tens of thousands of lobsters were spilled onto the bridge from the trailer.

Cecil McCavour, whose parents operate Whitetail Fisheries Inc./Lorneville Lobster Shop, happened to be crossing the bridge when he saw the truck tipped over and noticed the lobster crates.

He didn't know whose lobster truck it was, but rushed home to tell his parents.

"And we said, 'Let's try to see if we can help out," said mother Karen McCavour.

"So we went back to the accident and spoke to the truck driver to call the people that own the lobster to see if we could assist in getting the lobsters out of the weather and see what we could save," she said.

The McCavours made multiple trips between the accident scene and their lobster pound on the city's west side to put as many lobsters as they could in water.

The lobsters were subsequently loaded onto a new transport trailer at the Lorneville Recreation Centre.

"We started around 1 a.m. and we just finished up now," Cecil McCavour said around noon.

He said the estimated 40,000 pounds of lobster was from Yarmouth, N.S., and was destined for Boston.

"We tried to salvage what we could of it, but we believe at least one-third of it is dead."

The lobsters are now headed to a processing facility in Maine to see which ones can still be sold.