BOOTHBAY HARBOR, Maine — This may be the peak of Maine’s lobster eating season, but lobster fishermen say their catch is slow this year. Fishermen say lobster landings in July were noticeably less than in recent years and that so far, the catch hasn’t improved a lot in August.
Fishermen and scientists are putting much of the blame on the cold weather in the spring that lasted almost to the end of June, saying that coastal water temperatures on the bottom, where the lobsters live, have been slow to warm up to make the lobsters active.
Carl Wilson, Director of Marine Science for the Maine Department of Marine Resources, says the catch has been slow all along the coast -- but it could pick up.
“At this point,” Wilson says, “it's mid-August -- we still have a lot of fishing to go and a lot of biology to happen in the fall. We will see what happens and wait and see.”
He says the largest lobster catches typically happen in the fall months.
Veteran Boothbay Harbor fisherman Clive Farrin says his income is down because of the slow season. He says if things don’t get better, it could spark a lot of concern in the fishing industry.
“The real worry is if we really have an off-year, and people start hollering, 'The sky is falling,'” he said. “You take that hysteria, coupled with hysteria to do with the whales -- and those regulations will bring monumental changes, unless we fend some off.”
He says the combined impact would do damage to the lobster industry.
Wilson says it’s too soon to worry about a year-long drop in lobster catch.
“The sky is not falling,” he says.
As for whale regulations, the state is expected to release its recommendations in less than two weeks.