Jan 10, 2010

Maine lobsters are fat & happy; but lobstermen not so much.


It was the best of times, the worst of times...

The cold economic equations continue to keep Maine lobster price low at the docks and lobstermen's wallets thin  As Maine Lobstermen's Association president Dave Cousens recently was quoted, his industry's  "financial business plan is based on a $4 [per pound] boat price. If we get below $4, it doesn't work...." 
 
Dave also noted that Maine's wild lobster community was thriving, though he would not say the same for Atlantic herring.
 
So let's consider this little animal we call "herring" is doing: Like all planktivores, stresses to the plankton , something we 'sapients' witlessly do all the time, there are less plankton eaters like herring. 
 
And this small fish is the primary food daily set before Maine lobsters in lobster "traps".  Traps? Think of the traps as soup kitchens, and millions of hungry lobsters - All you can eat!! -  filing in and out of millions of traps every day all day for much of the year.   
 
A  very fattening diet for lobsters to stay on, far divorced from their natural food of worms, plankton, mussels, clams. seaweed, other crustaceans  Herring in traps, regularly replaced, is manna from lobster heaven, raining down  .

But now the servings are about to stop being supersized, because the allowable  2010/2011 herring kill in the Gulf of Maine is being cut down to around 58 million individual herrings,  a way down from the 150 million or so herrings lawfully slain in the Gulf of Maine, in '06. The drop in herring feed will force millions of lobsters to tighten their carapaces and return to the hunting and gathering life.
(Photo courtesy National Geographic)

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