buying Maine, lobster

Lobstermen set catch records, lose money

CNN.com ran an article yesterday about the dip in prices lobster men received over the past year for their crustacean friends.

David Cousins, president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association and a lobsterman for 42 years, said the 2009 harvest was the biggest since the early 1990s, when the annual take peaked at an estimated 100 million pounds. But that is little comfort, considering the dropping prices and increasing costs.

“Our business is based on a $4 dollar-plus lobster [per pound],” said Cousins. “When you’re getting $2.90 a pound, you’re going the wrong way and it just doesn’t work anymore.

The cost of Atlantic herring, an abundant fish used as bait in lobster traps, jumped to a range of 25 to 30 cents per pound from 3 cents in the mid-1990s, said Cousins. The cost of bait now consumes 20% of gross revenue for lobstermen, compared to 2% in mid-1990s, he said.

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