BANGOR, Maine — Preliminary catch totals indicate that Maine lobster fishermen brought ashore more of the state’s signature seafood in 2010 than any other year.
According to statistics released Friday afternoon by Maine Department of Marine Resources, more than 93 million pounds of lobster were caught in Maine’s waters last year. This total represents an estimated increase of 12 million pounds of lobster from the previous record of 81 million pounds caught by Maine fishermen in 2009.
The estimated total value of the landings in 2010 is $308,706,785, according to DMR officials. With those totals, the estimated average price that lobstermen got for their catch in 2010 is estimated to be $3.31 per pound. There are nearly 6,000 licensed commercial lobstermen in Maine, of which 4,260 are believed to have ac-tively fished in 2010, state officials indicated Friday.
The value of the lobster catch represents almost 70 percent of the total value of all commercial marine species harvested in Maine. According to DMR, the total value of all marine species harvested in Maine, including shrimp, salmon and scallops, was $448,734,076 in 2010.
It is only the third time that the value of the statewide annual total lobster landings has been $300 million or more. In 2005, the year after the state started requiring lobster dealers to file landings reports, the value of the overall catch was just shy of $318 million. In 2006, the estimated statewide landings value was $312 million.
In 2009, the estimated value of the statewide catch was $237.7 million. The estimated average annual price fishermen received for their catch that year was $2.93 per pound, the lowest it had been since 1998.
The value of the catch in 2010 suggests that the price of lobster continues to recover from the economic collapse in the fall of 2008, when the boat price for lobster plummeted to around $2 per pound. The average annual boat price had been at least $4 per pound from 2004 through 2007, but the average annual price for 2008 wound up at $3.51 per pound.
Fishing industry officials have said that despite declines in the boat price of lobster, fishing expenses such as diesel fuel and bait have remained at or near historic highs.