Before sunrise last Monday, in a parking lot by the water in Winter Harbor, Maine, a gathering of lobstermen came to a rare consensus: prices were too low to go fishing.
And no, we aren’t blaming “global warming”, even for superabundant fisheries.
“I’ve never seen them tie up [their boats] as a group like this before,” said Randy Johnson, manager of the Winter Harbor Lobster Co-op. The 30 vessels in his co-operative have remained in port for a week straight.
“I’m looking at all their boats as we speak,” he said Friday when reached at the co-op, which sits across the bay from Bar Harbor “They all have a cut-off point [in price] where they can and can’t fish,” he said. “It’s an impossible situation.”
Harbors up and down the coast of Maine are filled with idle fishing boats, as lobster haulers decide that pulling in their lobster pots has become a fruitless pursuit.
Prices at the dock have fallen to as low as $1.25 a pound in some areas—roughly 70% below normal and a nearly 30-year-low for this time of year, according to fishermen, researchers and officials. The reason: an unseasonably warm winter created a supply glut throughout the Atlantic lobster fishery.