The Working Waterfront

Lobster harvest sets dollar record

Fishery lands $724 million in landings

Posted 2022-02-15
Last Modified 2022-02-15

Recently updated data from the Maine Department of Marine Resources shows 2021 as the most valuable year in the history of Maine’s lobster fishery. At $724,949,426, the landed value for the iconic fishery jumped by 75 percent over 2020, by far the single largest increase in value, year over year.

The increase in value from 2020 to 2021—$312,464,172—was more than the total landed value in 2009.

“The Maine lobster industry remains a cornerstone of our state’s coastal economy and identity because of the uncompromising commitment to quality that follows every lobster, from trap to table,” said Gov. Janet Mills. “I will continue to work tirelessly to support this vital Maine heritage industry.”

“Last year was one for the books and it should be celebrated…”

DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher said the high dollar figure was “a clear reflection of strong consumer confidence in the Maine lobster brand and the products and people it represents.”

One dark cloud on the horizon is the announcement made in early February by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch noting it may add eastern Atlantic lobster harvests and other fisheries to its “red list” because of the risks they pose to North Atlantic right whales, meaning the organization would recommend against buying lobster.

Not only was the 2021 value a record setter, but the volume of landings continued a 12-year run in which harvesters brought to shore close to or more than 100 million pounds. At 108,048,704 pounds, landings increased by more than 10 million pounds over 2020.

Lobster management zone A, which runs from the Schoodic Peninsula to the Canadian border, saw the biggest catch with 24.7 million pounds landed. Zone G, from the New Hampshire border to the western edge of Casco Bay, saw just 5.2 million pounds landed. Zone C, which takes in the waters west of the Fox Islands and east of Deer Isle, saw the second largest landings at 22.9 million pounds.

“Last year was one for the books and it should be celebrated,” said Keliher, “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.”

Additional information on Maine lobster landings can be found at here.

Landings information for all other commercially harvested Maine species will be available in March after data has been fully audited.