Today Maine is the largest lobster-producing state in the nation. The Lobster Institute in Orono, Maine, has established a "relay pound" in Hawaii where lobsters can rest up before continuing their journey to Japan and the Pacific Rim countries. It can reduce mortalities by up to 40%. Other new holding and shipping technologies are being developed.
Trends in lobster landings
Is the lobster population on the verge of collapse or is it the healthiest it has ever been?
Why are landings high?
There are several theories, all guaranteed to generate controversy wherever there are two or more lobstermen:
- Global warming. The water temperature along the Maine coast, for example, has increased significantly over the past few years. Are lobsters being attracted by the warmer temperatures?
- Fewer predators. Cod, the main predator of lobsters, is much less abundant than it used to be because of overfishing by ground fishermen trawling with dragger nets for bottom-dwelling fish.
- Better detection. Electronic gear on most lobster boats can virtually "see" underwater. They can identify bottom type, topography, and depth, making the lobster's haunts easier to locate.
- More fishermen. When there are more lobstermen, it stands to reason there will be higher catches, although each fisherman gets a smaller slice of the pie.