The American lobster is the single most valuable species of fish landed in the United States. Over 80 percent of the catch comes from Maine (source: NOAA fisheries reports from 2014 and 2015).
Thirty percent of all commercial fishing trips on the East Coast are taken by Maine fishermen—469,000 trips per year. (source: Maine Department of Marine Resources.)
Maine lobstermen take about 270,000 commercial fishing trips each year. No other state comes close to this number of commercial fishing trips across all commercial fisheries. Florida is the next closest with 206,000. (source: Maine Department of Marine Resources.)
This means about 17 percent of all commercial fishing trips taken on the East Coast are taken by Maine lobstermen.
Three Maine communities—Stonington, Vinalhaven and Rockland— land $114 million worth of lobster each year, nearly as much as the $123 million total value of commercial fisheries landings in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire combined.
The tension between communities seeking to keep their waterfronts economically viable and the residents who want to preserve their views is one that is happening all over the world, say national development experts. “I think that’s an inherent tension that won’t ever go away,” said Jon Golinger, a San Francisco-based attorney and waterfront advocate.