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johnnyd

Lobster Prices Tank

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I come from a long line of Southwestern Nova Scotia Lobstermen and it is true that lobster was once considered "poor mans food". Ironically if you came to school with a bologna sandwich you were considered wealthy!

My how times have changed!

On another note....did anyone see the Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares "Black Pearl" episode where Gordon infers that Canadian Lobster is inferior to Maine Lobster. I have it on very good authority that 50-75% of SouthWest NS Lobster exported to Boston is "marketed" as Maine Lobster.


Edited by Brasco66 (log)

Lefty Ruggiero to Donnie Brasco: "Anywhere you go, all around the world, all the best cooks are men."

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Canadian lobsters come to The United Kingdom. I will be off to get mine tomorrow, perhaps two. (Eat your heart out Gordon R): :biggrin:

Clickety


Martial.2,500 Years ago:

If pale beans bubble for you in a red earthenware pot, you can often decline the dinners of sumptuous hosts.

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That is the biggest lobster I've ever seen!

Does the lobster meat become tougher as the lobster gets older/bigger?

The record is around 44 lbs -- somebody near here back in the late 70's.

I've heard that the really big ones are not edible, but since 3 lbs is my personal best, I can't really say.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I come from a long line of Southwestern Nova Scotia Lobstermen and it is true that lobster was once considered "poor mans food". Ironically if you came to school with a bologna sandwich you were considered wealthy!

My how times have changed!

On another note....did anyone see the Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares "Black Pearl" episode where Gordon infers that Canadian Lobster is inferior to Maine Lobster. I have it on very good authority that 50-75%  of SouthWest NS Lobster exported to Boston is "marketed" as Maine Lobster.

Fisheries & Oceans says that 90% of the Canadian lobster catch is exported. Lobster quality depends on water quality -- cold, clean, nutrient-rich water can be found from Maine to Labrador and beyond. But then you and your ancestors probably knew that.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I come from a long line of Southwestern Nova Scotia Lobstermen and it is true that lobster was once considered "poor mans food". Ironically if you came to school with a bologna sandwich you were considered wealthy!

My how times have changed!

On another note....did anyone see the Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares "Black Pearl" episode where Gordon infers that Canadian Lobster is inferior to Maine Lobster. I have it on very good authority that 50-75%  of SouthWest NS Lobster exported to Boston is "marketed" as Maine Lobster.

Fisheries & Oceans says that 90% of the Canadian lobster catch is exported. Lobster quality depends on water quality -- cold, clean, nutrient-rich water can be found from Maine to Labrador and beyond. But then you and your ancestors probably knew that.

Yes, I'm sure even the concept of "terrior" apllies to the oceans bounties. I know that Lobster Fisherman from the Maritimes would argue that their Lobster has a better taste then Lobster from another region. My Family would argue that the colder the water the better, although the problem then faced is that if the water gets too cold, lobsters stop crawling and therfore catches go down.

On Ramsey , saying Maine Lobster are better then Canadain Lobster, I think he needs to look at a map. Lobsters from the Yarmouth area of NS are fished in the same waters as Maine.


Lefty Ruggiero to Donnie Brasco: "Anywhere you go, all around the world, all the best cooks are men."

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More local coverage from Portland, Maine, about how the coast is coping with the lowest prices in 20 years. People are coming together in a big way - I'm hearing plans for big lobster feasts on Halloween night.

As for the boat crews:

Jon McCann hauled in about 200 pounds of lobsters Monday without the help of a stern man who usually empties and baits the traps.

"I had to let him go," McCann said of his helper. It saves him more than $100 a day, he said.

Another lobsterman who had decided to give up fishing for the winter hired McCann's stern man to help him collect his traps.

McCann said he has boat and house payments to make and will keep fishing.

"I made more money when I was 15 years old fishing out of a skiff."

Article here.

On a sad note, The Coast Guard has suspended their search for a missing Matinicus Island lobsterman, last seen on Zephyr Ledges, - about 2 miles northeast of Matinicus Island (which itself is 15 miles out from Rockland) - about noon, Monday.

He was in a 21 foot, open skiff. They found a boot, raingear and a lunchbox floating near the spot he was last heard from. The weather was really bad out there last night - winds over 20 knots.

It's not like they didn't try though:

Responders searched for 28 hours and covered more than 100 square miles using a 47-foot rescue boat from Station Rockland; the Coast Guard Cutters Moray and Jefferson Island; a Falcon jet and a Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod, Mass.; a Navy plane from Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine; two Maine Marine Patrol boats using side-scan sonar, and about 20 local lobstermen.

Bulletin - US Coast Guard


Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Its important to remember that the cost of fish isn't measured in money alone.


"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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So what you are saying is that I got screwed paying 8.99 on the Cape on Oct 15?

Can I at least assume it was fresher than a NJ supermarket lobster?

just say yes

tracey

it was damn tasty though


The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

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Its important to remember that the cost of fish isn't measured in money alone.

That's for damn sure.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Its important to remember that the cost of fish isn't measured in money alone.

That's for damn sure.

I don't mind paying a fair value for this, but if the seafood is going to be expensive, I'd at least like to see the fisherman get a fair part of that. To this point the prices in my local supermarkets remain high. It does not appear that the lobster fishermen are seeing much of that right now. That kind of pisses me off.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Its important to remember that the cost of fish isn't measured in money alone.

That's for damn sure.

I don't mind paying a fair value for this, but if the seafood is going to be expensive, I'd at least like to see the fisherman get a fair part of that. To this point the prices in my local supermarkets remain high. It does not appear that the lobster fishermen are seeing much of that right now. That kind of pisses me off.

I rarely buy (pacific spiny) lobster since we have enough friends who dive for them and also there is (legal) bycatch available via my wife's work in marine biology. That being said there is a local place that runs around $18/lb fisherman direct vs. well north of $20/lb from more conventional outlets. I'd happily pay this guy full freight with the $ going to him rather than paying more to vendor that paid far less than that to the fisherfolk.

I use this guy for other local stuff (crab, spot prawns, yellowtail, billfish etc.) but cant bring myself to buy my (beloved) spiny lobster from him.

Prices on Maine Lobster here on the left coast are still high alas...


Edited by 6ppc (log)

Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

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According to a local paper (The New London Day) a New London ShopRight has been selling chicken lobsters for $4.99 a lb lately. Big Y has a Saturday and Sunday only special this week of $5.99 a lb for that same size. I do see a lobster dinner in the cards, perhaps tonight.

HC

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Its important to remember that the cost of fish isn't measured in money alone.

That's for damn sure.

I don't mind paying a fair value for this, but if the seafood is going to be expensive, I'd at least like to see the fisherman get a fair part of that. To this point the prices in my local supermarkets remain high. It does not appear that the lobster fishermen are seeing much of that right now. That kind of pisses me off.

Most fishermen are beholden to the price on the dock unless they have a special arrangement with a specific buyer. These relationships usually take a long time to cultivate. Sometimes, a boat will accept terms from a single buyer in exchange for a season's loyalty, or a boat has a unique advantage that commands market price plus a premium. Lobster co-operatives are formed to tackle these issues, offering shared expenses and market clout among other advantages.

------------

In case anyone missed it, and is interested, I spent a day lobstering out on Casco Bay during my foodblog in '07.

gallery_28660_4947_4023.jpg

Click here to see the story.


Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Local press lists another community lobster sale in Damariscotta, Maine. Local boat harvest will be available cooked or snapping at $5 each all day Saturday. Not that I expect everyone to get in the car and drive to Maine, only that it's interesting that the tightly-knit coastal Maine communities have taken this step to support each other. You either lobster for a living, you are part of the support business surrounding lobstering (boats, bait, fishing gear, transport, etc.), or you know someone involved in the above.

Also in yesterday's Portland Press Herald there was something I never knew:

With the price so low, it's hardly a sacrifice. You could also buy it now and freeze it in a salted milk or water brine. Use 1 teaspoon of salt per 1 cup of milk or water. This will eliminate freezer burn and water crystals that develop on the exterior of the meat.

Freezing lobster in salted milk? Did I just blow by that fact all these years?


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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The boat has come in here in Allentown, PA.

Wegmans is advertising their lobster sale, $6.99/lb. starting Friday.

(Salted milk, really?)


Margo Thompson

Allentown, PA

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You're my little potato, they dug you up!

You come from underground!

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The boat has come in here in Allentown, PA.

Wegmans is advertising their lobster sale, $6.99/lb. starting Friday.

(Salted milk, really?)

The Olive Farmer's Market (which is actually Chinese) had them for $6.99 a pound the other day. But the Hispanic guy weighing it insisted on weighing it in a giant paper bag, placed in a plastic bag. When I asked him to remove it from the bag -- $6.99 is a good price for lobster, but not for paper and plastic -- he said "take it or leave it." I left it.

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More press on lobster prices has surfaced.

This article from Boston.com appeared about the time this thread started:

Along the Portland waterfront, seafood shops are selling lobsters for as cheap as $3.89 a pound, which is about the price of bologna at the deli counter.

Retailers as far south as Washington, D.C., are selling live lobster for as little as $5.99 a pound, said Neal Workman, founder and head of The Fisheries Exchange, a Boston-based company that tracks prices, catches and other market information for the lobster industry.

Financial Times article from Monday, November 10th 2008:

The crisis in the global financial system is also having an impact. Some Icelandic banks, a major lender to the seafood industry, have failed, which has made processors wary of increasing their stocks of frozen lobster, says Mr Norton. A little more than half of Maine's lobster harvest is shipped to Canadian processors.

Lobster represents a way of life and a $1bn business in Maine. The state, which exports about 63m lb of lobster a year, is responsible for 80 per cent of lobster eaten in the US.

The lobster harvest increased this month 10 - 20% from last year in Maine & Nova Scotia, but the "boat price" - dollar amount paid to harvesters at the dock - was $4 last year and now ranges $2.35 - $2.50

Also in the same article, a "Lobster Bail-Out" promotion from Lobster Gram, a Chicago-based internet lobster marketer,

The company is selling its live lobster packages for up to half their regular price and donating a portion of its sales to help the Lobster Institute, a research organisation at the University of Maine...  ..."The lobstermen need our help."

----------------

As the holiday season approaches and the novelty of low-cost lobster sinks in, the prospect of holiday meals including lobster looms. To this end, a local lobsterman's wife - Monique Coombs of Orr's Island - is compiling a cookbook for lobster, proceeds of which benefit Lobsterman's families,

All proceeds from the book, called "Lobsters on the Fly," will be donated to the Maine Lobstermen's Association to help Maine fishing families in need. The title of the book was suggested by Coombs' brother, who is an executive chef in Las Vegas.

"It's a cooking term," Coombs said. "If you're in the kitchen and someone says I need this on the fly, it means they need it double-quick. It means they needed it 10 minutes ago."

The book is being funded by advertising and sponsorships. Deby Stubbs, a Maine photographer, is providing the photos.

For more information, or to contribute a recipe, contact Coombs at "Lobsters on the Fly," P.O. Box 73, Orr's Island, ME 04066, or e-mail her at lobstersonthefly@gmail.com

Dispatch from MaineToday.com doesn't say when it will be ready. Those who are inclined, send in a recipe today - or email Monique to get on the list when it ships.

Here's lookin' at you, kid...

gallery_16643_3_37504.jpg


Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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$18/lb at a local fancy pants grocery store in Dallas last weekend. Further north, in Plano, in a large Asian market, there was a tank of what claimed to be Maine lobster for half that price. Not sure exactly where something is wrong here.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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Prices are starting to inch down where I live. The seafood manager at my local Hannaford's doesn't order his lobsters through Hannaford. Instead he says he orders them right from a dockside supplier in Maine. He says that he is paying considerably more than $5/lb, but then he isn't really moving very many of them. The small ones are being sold there as of yesterday for $10.99/lb with jumbos at $12.99/lb, all hardshells.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I live in Wisconsin and was astonished to find out that the local grocery chain (Copps) was selling live Maine lobsters. I've never seen this as long as I've lived here (only 3 1/2 years, but still) though there is one specialty store around that I know of that sells them at prohibitive prices. They were $11.99/lb for 1.5 pounders. The price isn't spectacular, but the fact that they're selling them at all is unusual. I was so surprised I bought two, ate one tail one night and turned the shells and remaining meat into bisque the next day.


nunc est bibendum...

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With the price so low, it's hardly a sacrifice. You could also buy it now and freeze it in a salted milk or water brine. Use 1 teaspoon of salt per 1 cup of milk or water. This will eliminate freezer burn and water crystals that develop on the exterior of the meat.

Freezing lobster in salted milk?  Did I just blow by that fact all these years?

Wonder what the milk adds? Maybe it is to do with that elimination of fishiness that asks us to soak fish in milk before prep. I do recall the chain Trader Joe's having a 1lb main lobster frozen in sea water as a standard item for some time years ago.

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$7.95 a pound at The Lobster House in Cape May, New Jersey- yesterday. For any size. I got a two pound one and we split it with lots of vegetables and it was tasty and sweet and plenty. Not even $16.


Philly Francophiles

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Last Sunday's Portland Press Herald 11.30.08 had a front page story about tough times for the Maine Lobster Industry.

Excerpt:

The plunge of prices since early October has lobstering families and communities closing ranks and buying time. And what worries lobstermen even more than the approaching winter, they said, is the chance that the market won't recover by next spring or summer.

"We're just holding the turn," said John Drouin, repeating an old fishermen's phrase about navigating through uncertain times.

Drouin lives in Cutler, an isolated Down East lobstering community where there are virtually no other jobs to support his wife and five children. "There is going to be a lot of guys that go out of business this winter," he said.

Drouin is still fishing, even though at $2.25 a pound it's barely worthwhile. He might catch $675 worth of lobster on a good day but spend $600 on fuel, bait and a helper, he said.

Drouin plans to get through winter by cutting back on family expenses. He's more worried that he won't be able to make up for the lost income when the lobster season starts up again in April.

The rhythm of life in Maine lobstering communities is usually dictated by the tides, the weather and the size of catches. But that changed in early October, when the industry got caught up in the turmoil of global financial networks. Lobster prices plunged.

Along with a drop-off in lobster consumption worldwide, the collapse of banks in Iceland froze credit to large buyers in Canada, where about 70 percent of Maine lobsters typically go to be cooked and frozen.

The price paid to lobstermen dropped from $3 to $3.75 per pound to $2 to $2.75, figures not seen in more than a decade. Retail prices, meanwhile, dropped a similar percentage to as low as $3.49 per pound for soft-shell lobsters.

Statewide, the October lobster catch earned Maine fishermen less than $20 million, down more than 67 percent from a high of more than $60 million in October 2005, according to state records.


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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So heres the issue:

New shell lobsters... Their shells are SOFT SOFT SOFT, you put any pressure and the shell snaps... The problem with these is the yield, when you cook them the meat usually shrinks.

Medium Shells... Pretty much same problem as above

Firm Shells... These are actually alot better, price is still lower, and cooking quality is pretty good... Problem with this as well as above lobsters, is that they are very weak outside of the water and tend to die very very fast.

Hard shells, the lobsters usually every knows and loves.

Large lobsters. Ive met chefs that have sworn by large lobsters 5# on up and chefs that sware by female lobsters for more yield...

I think its all relative, and what you use it for... Large lobsters may be a bit tougher so maybe the application used should be a ravioli type dish. Cut it up... Largest lobster ive seen since selling seafood... 19.4#... the claw itself was the size of a large bag of chips...


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I may be in the gutter, but I am still staring at the stars.

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The problem with these is the yield, when you cook them the meat usually shrinks.

Actually, soft shell lobster meat is smaller because the newly-molted animal has grown a bigger carapace to accommodate the annual body-tissue growth.

----------------

New York Times covers the lobster glut,

While fantasizing about ways to cook my bargain crustaceans, I asked Lewis Spada, the manager of Fish Tales in Brooklyn, why prices were so low.

“The economy,” he said. “People just aren’t buying, but in Maine their stocks are loaded. It’s all about supply and demand.”

At his shop, lobsters go for $10.99 a pound, about $3 less than last year — a trend seen all over town. Balducci’s is selling them for $14.99 to $16.99 a pound, $4 less than last year, and at Wild Edibles they are $2 to $3 less, or $13.99 to $15.99 a pound. The Lobster Place, with locations in Chelsea Market and Greenwich Village, is the cheapest of the markets I surveyed, at $7.95 a pound.

Article, by Melissa Clark, here.


Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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