PORTLAND, Maine — Maine Lobster Week is back and there are plenty of menus to check out from Kennebunk to Bar Harbor.
Many lobster shacks, food trucks, and restaurants across the state are serving specially-priced lobster items or special lobster selections that aren't normally on their menus.
The statewide lobster celebration goes from Sept. 19 through National Lobster Day on Sept. 25.
Marianne LaCroix is the executive director of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative. She came into the 207 studio to give us a snapshot of what to expect this week.
Q. Less than two weeks ago, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch red-listed Maine lobster citing Maine lobster traps are a threat to right whales. It seems like the weeklong celebration is more important than ever — is this decision changing the way you’re handling things this year?
A. We definitely gave the restaurants some information about what the fishermen have been doing over the last two decades to make sure their gear is safe for right whales, and it's really important to know that no right whale death or serious injury has ever been attributed to Maine lobster gear.
Q. And did I see that the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative has created a petition to pushback against this decision to red-list our state’s lobster?
A. It's on change.org. We just want to give people the opportunity to show their support for the Maine lobstermen.
Q. During Maine Lobster week, folks can check out different locations from Kennebunk to Bar Harbor – and there is plenty on the menu.
A. It's a great time to show support for the Maine lobster fishermen just by going out and eating Maine lobster, and as you said, it's a statewide celebration. There's restaurants all up and down the coast participating and there's some great options.
There are all kinds of options like your traditional favorites like lobster rolls or a stuffed lobster and there's also some exciting new dishes that the chefs are coming up with.
Q. Is this week just about getting people out of their house to try and eat more lobster or is it about more than that?
A. For people to enjoy a lobster, a lot of [the] time, people are thinking about lobster in the summer when they're going out for lobster baked or lobster rolls... lobster fisherman [are] bringing in the most lobster [during] these months [so] you just want to remind people [that it's] still here during these months.
Q. In recent years, we’ve heard a lot about the need for more lobstermen to join the force and keep the tradition alive. Is that some of the hope behind the week as well… to build more interest in Maine’s lobster industry?
A. This is a heritage fishery [and] a lot of people have been in it for generations. Children pick it up from their parents and continue on that tradition and so there's definitely a strong force of fishermen here, a strong fleet in the state.
Q. We should also mention if you can’t physically be here or get out to enjoy Maine Lobster Week, there are online options people can check out as well.
A. The Maine Lobster Shippers have joined, and so if you're not in Maine or if you have friends or relatives outside of the state that you want to enjoy Maine lobsters, you can ship it directly to their door from one of our participating online shippers. We did it last year, but we have more shippers participating this year and they are running specials as well — special packages for the week.
Q. I’m sure it takes quite a bit of effort to pull all of this together. Now that the week is here, you must be releasing a sigh of relief and ready to enjoy everything the week has to offer.
A. Yes, now we just have to go out and enjoy some of these dishes that chefs have put together.
You can check out a complete list of participating locations by clicking here.