In this Sept. 11, 2018, file photo, lobsters are packed at a shipping facility in Arundel, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s lobster catch dipped slightly last year as fishermen dealt with the coronavirus pandemic, but the final totals were better than some feared.

Fishermen caught more than 96 million pounds of lobsters in 2020, the Maine Department of Marine Resources said Wednesday. That total broke a string of nine consecutive years in which harvesters brought at least 100 million pounds of lobsters to land.

Maine is by far the biggest lobster fishing state in the country, and the harvest is central to the state’s economy and heritage. Members of the industry feared at the outset of the pandemic that it would be difficult to equal previous years’ hauls because of the toll of the virus on the economy and the workforce.

However, the 2020 catch would have been a state record as recently as 2010. A boom in annual lobster catch began more than a decade ago.

Prices were also competitive. The marine resources department reported the catch was worth more than $400 million. The lobsters were worth $4.20 per pound at the docks, which was 62 cents less than 2019, but higher than the previous 11 years before that.