News Feature

Stonington
Web exclusive, March 2, 2018
Maine lobster landings down 16 percent, more in Zone C
DMR releases preliminary 2017 commercial harvest numbers

Stonington pier

Stonington was named the top port for 2017 commercial landings value, but lobster landings and value declined state-wide.

Photo by Leslie Rice Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

The Department of Marine Resources released preliminary commercial landing data for 2017, and the numbers, likely no surprise to lobstermen and other commercial fishermen and dealers, are down significantly from 2016.

Still, the Port of Stonington remains the highest grossing port in Maine for all commercial fisheries, landing $55,840,000 of seafood for 2017, nearly $20 million more than Vinalhaven, the state’s second-highest grossing port. In all Maine landed 254,205,154 pounds of seafood for a value of $569,173,090, down nearly 47 million pounds. Lower lobster landings account for nearly half of that drop.

State wide, landings were down 46,874,388 pounds, a $163,320,427 drop in value, or a 16 percent decrease.

In Zone C, lobster landings were down just under 6 million pounds, for a drop of about $26 million in value, a decrease of 17.5 percent.

Both statewide and in Zone C, lobster landings are the lowest since 2011.

“The past year has underscored what I’ve been saying for years now – that change is inevitable and we must be prepared,” said DMR Commissioner Keliher in March 2 press release. “This year’s decline in lobster landings is by no means a signal that the sky is falling. But it does highlight the need to make sure our management measures adapt to change. This is true for all fisheries. It is the best way to ensure resilience of our marine resources and opportunity for future generations.”

The average price per pound for lobster was down $0.17 in 2017, at $3.91 per pound compared to $4.08 in 2016 and $4.10 in 2015 but still higher than in the three years previous, especially in 2012 when the price dipped to $2.69 per pound.

In all, Maine landed 110,819,760 pounds of lobster for an ex-vessel value of $433,789,855, representing 76 percent of total commercial marine harvests.

All 2017 data released by the DMR is considered preliminary.

Maine Commercial Landings
2011   286,664,631 lbs   $434,239,595
2012   318,353,978 lbs   $531,053,600
2013   315,039,467 lbs   $540,781,950
2014   306,776,947 lbs   $591,537,088
2015   281,183,537 lbs   $627,312,035
2016   301,079,542 lbs   $732,493,517
2017*   254,205,154 lbs   $569,173,090

Lobster landings
2011   104,924,728 lbs   $334,539,734
2012   127,321,422 lbs   $342,079,520
2013   127,808,436 lbs   $370,383,982
2014   124,325,923 lbs   $459,508,386
2015   122,663,393 lbs   $502,450,309
2016   132,536,606 lbs   $540,363,604
2017*   110,819,760 lbs   $433,789,855

Port of Stonington (ex-vessel value)
2013   $48,940,000
2014   $60,310,000
2015   $64,020,000
2016   $68,280,000
2017*   $55,840,000

Zone C
2011   24,092,265 lbs   $75,056,523
2012   33,689,288 lbs   $87,832,977
2013   33,050,504 lbs   $93,788,171
2014   31,390,408 lbs   $112,999,631
2015   31,646,019 lbs   $126,098,932
2016   33,559,282 lbs   $133,742,490
2017*   27,679,499 lbs   $107,828,705

Price per pound—Lobster
2012   $2.69
2013   $2.90
2014   $3.70
2015   $4.10
2016   $4.08
2017*   $3.91

*2017 data is preliminary