Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, March 10, 2016
Stonington still Maine’s top port in lobster landing value
Price jumps 39 cents per pound
by Anne Berleant
Lobstermen across the state landed over $495 million worth of lobsters in 2015, according to preliminary data released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on March 3. Locally, the Stonington port landed $63.8 million worth of lobsters, continuing its lead among state ports in lobster landing values.
When factoring in bonuses paid to harvesters as reported by 11 of Maine’s 19 lobster co-ops, the overall landed value of Maine’s lobster fishery reached $510,680,048.
While the data shows an overall drop in landed pounds by about three million, a higher per-pound price drove the historically high values. The 2015 price per pound was up 39 cents to $4.09, while pounds landed were 121,083,400, down about 24 million pounds from 2014.
“This past year saw a continuation of steady and historic lobster landings throughout the season. The increase in value reflects growing demand for Maine lobster,” Commissioner Patrick Keliher stated in a March 3 press release.
In Zone C, which includes East Penobscot Bay and the towns of Deer Isle, Stonington, Blue Hill, Brooksville, Brooklin, North Haven, Vinalhaven, Matinicus and Isle au Haut, lobstermen landed 31,578,925 pounds of lobsters for a value of just under $126 million. Per port data on pounds landed was not yet available from the DMR.
One hundred years ago, the value for lobsters landing in Maine ports was $2.3 million, and 50 years ago just over $14 million. In 2009, with a low price per pound of $2.93 and just over 81 million pounds landed, the landing value stood at $237.5 million.
For all commercial marine resources, landing values topped $600 million for the first time, with lobster landings accounting for 81 percent.