THE PRICE OF LOBSTER
Lobster prices are going up. A lot. We’ve held ours at $23/lb for a couple of years now, but with the latest catch coming out of the Bay of Fundy, we’ve had to raise them. $30 a pound. Ouch.
The problem is that at the moment they are not catching any lobsters. October 14th saw the opening of Fishing Area 35, on the NS side of the Bay of Fundy. Lobster catch over the last 5 years from this part of Nova Scotia has been extremely high compared to the 50-year mean catch (rebounding and then some from a low in the the 1970’s). But this year they don’t seem to be finding any.
As any economist can tell you, if demand stays strong and supply goes down, the price will go up. And that’s what we’re seeing here. Several years of great returns from the fishery have stoked the market for Lobster, and now that there are not as many lobsters to sell, the price has to rise. One of the challenges we face, greater now than when we opened in ’87, is that more people are demanding quality seafood. Great for us on one hand, as it means more people interested in our work and eating with us, but difficult in that the price of seafood has risen dramatically as demand has increased. (You notice prices never seem to come down. Disappointing, that)
What follows is a little Lobster Science, taken from DFO’s ASSESSMENT OF LOBSTER (HOMARUS AMERICANUS) IN LOBSTER FISHING AREAS (LFA) 35-38 2013. Might be interesting if you like Lobster.
“Off southwestern Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy, most female lobsters (Homarus americanus) mature between 90 and 105 mm carapace length (CL). The mature female mates after molting in midsummer and, in the following summer, produces eggs that attach to the underside of the tail. The eggs are carried for 10-12 months and hatch mainly in July or August. The larvae are planktonic for a few weeks to a month or more depending on temperature. There are 3 larval stages followed by a postlarval stage (“Stage 4”) that is planktonic for a few days until it begins diving to the bottom to begin the benthic phase of life. Once the post larvae find suitable shelter on the bottom, they tend to remain in or near the shelter to avoid predation. As lobsters moult and become larger, they leave their shelters more often to forage.
“Off southwestern Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy, lobsters are thought to take 8-10 years on average to reach the legal size of 82.5 mm CL. The maximum age of lobsters is unknown but, based on growth information and long term holding studies, it is believed to be in the range of 50 years. Growth increments at moult are dependent upon size, sex and maturity with the mean growth increment for males and immature females between 12-16% (Carapace Length CL), while mature females exhibit a declining percentage increase with size as more energy is invested in egg production. Lobsters seasonally migrate to shallower waters in summer and deeper waters in winter. Over most of the lobster’s range, these movements amount to a few kilometres; however, in the Gulf of Maine, the offshore regions of the Scotian Shelf and off New England lobsters can undertake long distance migrations of tens to hundreds of kilometers. Benthic stage lobsters are omnivorous, being mostly predators but scavenging prey items when available. Examination of juvenile and adult lobster stomach contents has found a wide variety of benthic organisms, including gastropods, bivalves (scallops, clams, mussels), chitons, crustaceans (e.g. rock crab), starfish and brittle stars, sea urchins, various marine worms (polychaetes), fish and occasionally plant material. Lobsters are also opportunistic feeders on fish eggs, discarded lobster shells and dead animals including fish, marine mammals and bait in lobster traps.”
FYI, “Benthic” means ” of, relating to, or occurring at the bottom of a body of water.” So on the Ocean floor.
So they cost more than they did, but hopefully that price is offset by knowing a little bit more about how lobsters grow and live. And this is what they look like: