Guests at the Inn at Sunrise Point regularly watch local lobstermen pulling lobster traps from the water just beyond our oceanfront lawn. We get many questions about lobstering in Maine here at the Inn so we thought we would blog about this interesting (and delicious) industry in Maine.
Did you know that Maine produces 100 million pounds of lobster each year? What is interesting is that the lobster industry in Maine was not always as popular as it is today. During colonial times lobsters were so plentiful and undervalued that they were primarily used as fertilizer for fields and gardens. They were referred to as the “poor man’s food.”
During the 1800’s the lobster industry began to develop and has continued to grow ever since. Today there are approximately 6,000 lobstermen in the state of Maine, 3,000,000 lobster traps in Maine waters, all producing $300 million a year for the lobster industry.
Lobstering is a challenging and expensive profession. We all know the cost of boat fuel is high but did you know a fully equipped lobster boat costs approximately $200,000? 150 pounds of lobster need to be caught each day just to cover the costs of bait and gas for that day.
There are many regulations that lobstermen have to follow in order to protect the lobster population in Maine. For example:
- Lobsters can be caught in traps only
- A lobsterman can only have 800 traps set up at once
- The harvesting of female lobster bearing eggs is prohibited (and has been since in 1872)
- Each lobster trap must have an opening to allow small lobsters to escape as well as a biodegradable “ghost hatch” so that lobsters will be able to escape a trap that has been lost at sea
- Lobsters that are caught must be between 3 8/32” and 5”
The lobster industry is very much a family business. Techniques, territory, as well as equipment is often passed down from generation to generation.
Lobsters themselves are fascinating creates. Did you know that:
- Lobster are good for you. It’s true. An average lobster provides over 20 grams of protein, is rich in Omega 3, and only contains 96 calories. (It’s the butter that gets you)
- Lobsters can swim forward and backwards using their tails
- Lobsters never stop growing
- Lobsters can regenerate their legs, claws, and antennae
- Lobsters can live to be over 100 years old
- Lobsters can’t process pain
- Lobsters are nocturnal
- A lobster’s teeth are located inside its stomach
- 5 one pound lobster are needed to make one pound of meat
- Lobsters eat fish, crabs, clams, mussels, sea urchins, and other lobsters. (Yes they are cannibals)
- Lobsters are dark green/brown but turn red when they are cooked