Lobstermen of Maine Talking Shells and Sustainability

Maine Lobstermen practiced sustainability before it was a buzzword.

Lobster is lobster, right? Wrong. If you don’t live near a town or ocean where lobster is prevalent, and you love lobster, you are just happy to get it when you can. However, at a recent industry lobster event, attendees were educated on lobster harvesting and what you should look for when selecting a lobster.

Photo credit: Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative

New shell lobster vs hard shell lobster. What’s the difference?
Hard shell lobsters have been living in their shells for a while and while they may be fuller, it requires more effort to get to the meat. Also, the taste is less appealing. On the other hand, new shell lobster is sweeter and more tender. Maine new shell lobsters are in season from June to November.

Taste test: New Shell vs. Hard Shell Lobster from Maine

Maine Lobster facts:

  • The Lobster industry has been continuously operational since the 17th century.
  • During Lobster season each Maine lobsterman has an average of 800 traps in the water.
  • Maine lobsters are all hand caught, one trap at a time.

DYK? The best way to tell if a Lobster is fresh is by the antennae. It should be roughly as long as the lobster’s body.

Lobster sustainability matters

Protecting the quality of their product and the marine environment is paramount to Maine lobstermen. Some regulations that help ensure the health of the lobsters include:

Harvest Method: Harvesting in Maine is by trap only. Traps include escape vents for under size lobsters as well as biodegradable escape hatches to free lobsters in lost traps.

Minimum Size Limit: Minimum 3 1/4″ measurements make sure baby lobsters have the opportunity to mature and reproduce before being harvested.

Tail Notching: Female lobsters with visible eggs cannot be harvested. Before releasing her, the harvester notches her tail to identify her as a good breeder, thus protecting her for life from being harvested.

Trap Limits: The total number of traps per harvester is limited by both the state and lobster zones.

Lobster Seed Fund: Supported by license fees, the Fund purchases females that extrude their eggs after being harvested. This unique buy-back program helps to ensure that the good breeding stock is returned to the ocean to reproduce.

Here’s your guide on how to crack a Lobster:

Image credit: LobsterfromMaine.com

Thank you, Maine from Lobster for putting on this fabulous, educational event and teaching us about lobster selection and your admirable sustainability practices.