In a surprising article from Fortune, it seems the price of lobsters has now reached a record low – equating to a per-pound cost less than ordinary hot dogs! According to the article, the current wholesale price per pound for lobsters is a mere $2.25, reflecting areas of the economy that continue to slide downhill. Over the last year, the restaurant demand for lobsters has decreased a whopping 30-40%, with other seafood at a loss of only 10-15%.
“Lobster is considered a celebration food — a feel-good food — and right now people don’t have a lot to celebrate,” says [CEO of seafood distributor East Coast Seafoods Michael] Tourkistas.
Though Maine lobstermen caught a record 67 million pounds of lobster last year, 4 million more than in 2007 and triple the amount caught 20 years ago, economic impacts are taking a toll. Bank failures in Iceland have equated to less financing for Canadian-based processors, resulting in less demand for the Northeastern delicacy. In addition, the rising cost of diesel fuel, as well as the price of herring bait, has made it difficult for workers in the once-thriving industry to continue their fishing.
“Put it this way — yesterday we spent $70 on fuel, $60 on bait and came home with $70 worth of lobsters,” says Sheila Dassatt, herself a fourth-generation Maine lobsterman. “Most of the fishermen in Maine are self-employed and have been for generations. The average age for a fisherman is about 54 years old. This is all they know, and at this point it’s kind of like teaching old dogs new tricks — myself included.”