A man sorts lobsters at Ready Seafood on Thursday April 28, 2016, in Portland, Maine. China has become a large market for Maine lobster. Photo by The Washington Post, Matt McClain.

Once a lobster meets both the sex and size regulations and requirements, it is considered a keeper. A lobster that is a keeper will have their claws banded and put in a holding tank aboard the lobster boat that has fresh flowing water. The banding of lobsters is to prevent fighting within the holding tank, as well as to protect those who are handling the lobster. 

Once at the dock, lobsters are brought to market where they are sold by the pound, not the quantity. 

For 2017 in the state of Maine, 111,850,267.76 pounds of lobster were caught accounting for 44% of the total seafood, and 76.2% of revenue generated from ocean resources. 

Quality markers from: https://lobsteranywhere.com/seafood-savvy/what-size-lobster-to-buy/#Grading_Lobster_for_Quality

There are different terms used for lobsters when they are being marketed. These are a few terms and their meanings below:

  • New shell (soft shell)- they yield 10% less meat than a hard-shell lobster, they are not shipped because they are too fragile
  • Hard shell- large quantity and good quality meat. They are the industry standard for quality with a higher ratio of meat to shell
  • Culls- lobsters missing one claw- they are less expensive but still good quality meat
  • Grade A- highest grade given to those with hard shells and they have the most meat
  • Grade B- these are lobsters caught in the summer their shells are firm or medium hard. This means the molting process wasn’t very recent, but the shell is still forming.
  • Then there are two industrial grades:
    • Market- sold at local markets and to local customers
    • Canners- low quality lobsters that are cooked for meat at processing plants
  • Different sizing names:
    • Quarters- lobster weighing 1 pounds
    • Selects- a lobster weighing from 1- 1
    • Deuces- lobster weighing 2- 2 pounds
    • Jumbo- lobster weighing 3 pounds and up
Image from: https://lobsteranywhere.com/seafood-savvy/what-size-lobster-to-buy/
Image from: https://lobsteranywhere.com/seafood-savvy/what-size-lobster-to-buy/

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