The pride that Maine Lobstermen take in their work makes it hard to imagine doing anything else, which is why many lobstering families have been in the business for generations. For over 400 years, Maine families have hauled lobster, often starting out young on a parent’s or grandparent’s boat before eventually passing the tradition down to their own children.
Get to know some of the families behind the Maine Lobster Industry.
Lobstering in Maine represents a culture of thriving small local businesses. Every lobster boat is independently owned and operated by one of Maine’s over 5,000 lobstermen. Each lobster brought to shore helps to sustain the economy of local communities. The fishery employs thousands of Mainers and puts over $1 billion back into Maine’s economy each year - going beyond the lobstermen themselves to those who sell bait, those who make and sell traps, lobster dealers and processors, and the restaurants that serve it.
We take our commitment to protecting the environment we operate in very seriously. For 20 years, we have been making extensive changes to the way we fish and the gear we use to help ensure the safety of Right Whales and minimize entanglements, removing over 30,000 miles of rope from the water. Due in part to these efforts there has only been one entanglement and no deaths of right whales attributed to Maine fishing gear dating back to 2002.
The industry is currently facing regulations to the fishery that would drastically impact the livelihood of many Mainers as well the future of the fishery. The Maine Lobstermen’s Association is working diligently to advocate for the fishery to ensure its continued existence and asking for support. Visit the Maine Lobstermen’s Association for more information on how you can support the fishery.
With the importance of the fishery to the state of Maine and the families who depend on it, sustainability has always been at the core of how the industry operates. The Maine Lobster industry has been self regulating with strict fishing guidelines for over 150 years to protect the resource.
The industry is so devoted to protecting the resource that it was the lobstermen themselves who first developed strict sustainability measures and petitioned the government to turn the guidelines into regulations. Maine’s rules are designed to protect egg-bearing females, known breeders, and juvenile lobsters to ensure the fishery always has a strong future. Lobstermen are raised on these rules and have to complete a year-long apprenticeship before they can captain their own boat to ensure they are well versed in sustainable fishing. In addition to measures to protect the resource, Maine Lobstermen have taken many steps to protect the broader coastal and marine environment. Learn more about our sustainable fishery.
Maine is home to the most delicious lobster on earth: Maine New Shell Lobster. Caught during our peak fishing season from June to November, New Shell Lobster is sweeter and more tender than the more common Hard Shell Lobster. Our lobstermen take pride in bringing this uniquely-Maine product to shore for people all over the world to enjoy. Learn about the Maine Lobster difference.
Mainers are resilient. During these challenging times, our lobstermen have been quick to pivot to reach their customers in a safe way, ensuring a market for lobster fishermen, and the businesses they support, continues to exist. Lobstering has been a part of Maine for over 400 years.