Improving Lobster Quality

Times are good in Maine’s lobster fishery yet there are certain practices that may need to improve. MLA photo.

In 2013, MLCA launched a lobster quality training program for lobstermen. The program helps lobstermen consider options for maintaining the quality of live caught lobster both on the boat and at the dock. Increased landings in recent years have resulted in increased shrinkage, or loss of lobsters in shipment. The entire supply chain has been working to improve systems that will improve and protect survivability of lobsters. Fishermen have invested in chillers for tanks aboard their vessels, buying stations have installed aeration systems for their holding spaces dockside, and shippers have increased shoreside tank capacity. But along the coast there is a lot of inconsistency in the way the product is handled. Learn more about the quality program here…

In 2016, the MLCA, in partnership with the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, hosted the Lobster Quality Tour which brought Prince Edward Island lobster veterinarian Jean Lavallée to more than 200 lobstermen along the Maine coast during one week in April. Lavallée spoke in each of the state’s seven lobster zones about the unusual physiology of the lobster and commonsense practices lobstermen can employ to ensure the highest-quality catch regardless of the number of pounds hauled each day. Learn more about the 2016 Quality Tour here…

In 2017, Lavallée returned for  seven workshops up and down the Maine Coast. These free workshop were open to the public as well as anyone who handles lobsters.  The MLCA is grateful to Maine Sea Grant and to the following lobster co-ops and dealers for providing funding for these workshops: Beals/Jonesport Lobster Co-op, Cranberry Isle Fisherman’s Co-op, Island Seafood,  Port Clyde Fisherman’s Co-op, Stonington Lobster Co-op, Swan’s Island Fisherman’s Co-op,  Tenants Harbor Fisherman’s Co-op, & Winter Harbor Lobster Co-op.  Read about the 2017 tour here.     

Lobster Quality is concern for lobstermen and industry associations statewide.  Along with workshops one can find videos, commercials, handouts and more. Here are a few of our favorites:

From Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries is this tongue and cheek clip about shrinkage, which for the layman, means the amount of lobsters lost.  Although as this video suggests, “shrinkage” has other references too!

The Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries is a strong advocate for sustainable fishing in eastern Maine. Along with research and programs for young people, they have provided research and education about the value and the means of keeping Maine’s Lobster industry thriving. Find out more at this link: http://www.coastalfisheries.org/research/lobster-handling/

A more serious look at lobster handling can be found in their 2012 video about “Stonington Lobster- Creating a Quality Brand”.