Maine's 2021 Lobster Harvest Blew This Record Out Of The Water

The past two years have seen many industries and retailers posting record-breaking numbers thanks to inflation, pandemic-related supply chain issues, and unprecedented consumer demand. Unfortunately, many of those numbers are high when we would prefer them low, or in the red when they used to be black. The Maine lobster industry, however, is emerging from 2021 with positive news, as it reports the most lucrative year in its long history.

Maine lobster is on a roll, and we're not talking bread. The delectable seafood has become almost synonymous with the state that developed an iconic fishery delivering unparalleled crustaceans to tables around the world. The State of Maine posted data from the Maine Department of Marine Resources valuing the 2021 harvest at just under $725 million. That's a 75% increase over 2020, making last year the most valuable in the industry's history.

The State of Maine Department of Marine Resources defines landings as the "total number or weight of all marine species captured, brought to shore, and sold (or transferred) to another person or party," and those landings for 2021 also broke records. Harvesters reaped just over 100 million pounds, a 10% increase over 2020.

Why are sales so high and is the increased demand sustainable?

It's hard to imagine what 100 million pounds of lobster look like, but the numbers rolling in from Maine's 2021 lobster harvest are just what the industry likes to see. In a year that saw significant imbalances in supply and demand, one wonders what drove the increased demand for Maine lobster, and will the high be sustainable?

The State of Maine shared that lobster harvesters in Maine have been enjoying increased landings and revenue over the past twelve years, with 2021 being the most valuable yet. Fox News notes the popularity of crustaceans in China is driving a good amount of demand, and exporters continue to ship a high amount of Maine lobster abroad. The increase is also credited to the quality of product and name recognition of the Maine lobster.

Maine Lobster Now explains that the industry is committed to sustaining its valuable natural resource by protecting female lobsters with eggs, regulating the size of lobsters harvested, and limiting the number of lobster fishing licenses. Other issues, like climate change, are still a threat to the lobster population. Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher said, "Last year was one for the books, and it should be celebrated. But there are many challenges ahead, and it's important that fishermen remain engaged in management discussions that will strive to make this stock resilient for future generations."