Warm ocean could mean early boom in 2016 lobster catch

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

ROCKPORT, Maine (AP) — Scientists say Maine's lobster catches will likely peak early this year, which could mean an abundance of cheap lobster for consumers nationwide and bad news for the state's signature industry.

Maine's busy lobster fishing season typically picks up around early July, the same time the state's summer tourism industry gets rolling. But scientists with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute predict the lobster season will get started two or three weeks early this year.

The scientists pin the early lobster season on warming ocean temperatures. They say temperatures along Maine's coast are 2 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit higher than normal.

An early lobster season can disrupt Maine's valuable lobster supply chain and make prices plummet. Prices at the dock fell 16 percent in 2012, a year of early catches.