This past weekend, I visited Portland, Maine, for the fall foliage. While the orange hues were beautiful, I particularly enjoyed learning about lobsters. Any menu across the continental United States with lobster on it would likely have 'Maine' preceding it, and there is a reason for that. According to the NOAA, in 2021 United States fished around 134 million pounds of American Lobster (valued at $924 million), and Maine was over 80% of that amount.
Maine dominates the lobster market. It is interesting to note that despite these numbers, lobster fishing in Maine isn't commercialized. No corporate conglomerates are exploiting the waters to turn a short-term profit. The state regulates the number of lobster fishing licenses issued. The only way to get one is when a fisherman retires or does not renew their license.
There are plenty of other sustainable practices that maintain a healthy lobster population. For example, when a female lobster with eggs is caught in the trap, the fisherman must put a v-notch on the fin and throw it back in. As for the males, a lobster measuring gauge decides their fate. The measure has two sides -- the small (~3.25") and the large (~5"). If a male lobster is shorter than the small side, they are considered juvenile and need to be thrown back in. If they are longer than the large side, they are considered breeders and need to be released. These practices prevent the lobster population from dwindling.
There are plenty of amazing things to do in Maine besides lobsters. Here are some of my recommendations:
- Check out the Portland HeadLight
- Walk around Old Port
- Get some pastries from Standard Baking Co.
- Grab dinner at Isa
If you ever find an opportunity to visit the Pine Tree state, take it!