Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, March 12, 2020
Stonington still the top lobster port in 2019
But lobster landings fall statewide
Stonington remains the top lobster fishing port in Maine, according to preliminary statistics released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on March 6.
by Leslie Landrigan
Despite a decline in the lobster harvest in 2019, Stonington remains the top lobster fishing port in Maine, according to preliminary statistics released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on March 6.
Commercial lobster landings in Maine fell in 2019 to 100,725,013 pounds from 121,321,163 pounds in 2018, according to the DMR.
The total value of the lobster harvest fell to $485,405,036 from $491,586,857, but a 20 percent increase in per-pound value made 2019 the fourth most lucrative year for the lobster fishery, according to the DMR.
Overall, the value of all Maine’s commercially harvested marine resources increased by more than $26 million over 2018 to $673,910,558, the second highest ever.
“Even with a slow start last year, Maine’s lobster industry ended the year strong, with landings picking up significantly in the last few months,” said DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher in a statement.
“Last year the cold spring caused a delay in the molt which is when lobsters shed their shells and the bulk of the harvest occurs. Fishermen held off until the shed happened, so fishing was slow early but picked up later in the year,” said Keliher.
The state’s lobster landings in 2019 fell still further below the 132,616,424 million pounds harvested in 2016, the best year on record.
Stonington landed $50.89 million in ex-vessel value, down from $59.6 million in 2018. Vinalhaven ranked second statewide, landing $39.74 million in ex-vessel value, followed by Portland with $25.27 million, Friendship with $24.33 million, and Beals with $22.73 million.
Though the value of seafood landings dropped in Stonington, Vinalhaven, Portland, Beals and Jonesport, it rose in Spruce Head, Owls Head, Harpswell and Bass Harbor. Two ports, Cundys Harbor and Rockland, fell out of the top 10.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated from the original version to include more information.