October 7 Declared "Lobster Day" in Massachusetts
Bay Staters are encouraged to enjoy local lobster at the season's lowest price
"For generations, the lobster has provided a source of food, jobs and economic activity, and a way of life that dates back to the Native Americans and the first European settlers," declared Governor Patrick, whose proclamation also noted the value of lobster fishermen to the Commonwealth's economy, and the abundance of lobster in Massachusetts waters in early October.
"Massachusetts has a well managed, robust lobster fishery that provides nutritious food at some of the lowest prices in recent memory," said DFG Commissioner Mary Griffin. "Governor Patrick's proclamation recognizes the value of the lobster industry to the Commonwealth and reminds consumers that now is a great time to enjoy this fresh and local food, and support the local fishing community that harvests lobster in Massachusetts."
According to DFG's Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF), lobsters catches are the highest in the late summer and early fall months when a rise in water temperatures in near shore waters, an increase in lobster feeding activity and inshore migration bring an abundance of lobsters into Massachusetts waters.
Last July, DMF partnered with the Massachusetts Lobstermen's Association, Ocean Conservancy and Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society to establish a new marketing program that helps consumers distinguish locally caught lobsters.
With high catch rates, the fall months see a drop in prices for consumers. According to DMF data, the ex-vessel price of lobsters (price paid to fishermen or lobster catches) has declined about 25 percent in the last four years, making lobster an affordable choice for consumers at home and at local restaurants. In addition, American lobster provides nutritional value. It is low in fat, calories and cholesterol and high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc and Vitamins B12, B6, B3 (niacin), B2 (riboflavin), and A.
"I would like to thank Governor Patrick and the state for the proclamation on behalf of the Commonwealth's lobster industry," said Bill Adler, executive director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen's Association. "Our lobster fishermen want to invite consumers to enjoy another taste of summer by having lobster during this fall season, which at the same time will be supporting our Massachusetts lobstermen."
The Massachusetts lobster industry is diligent in its effort conserve the lobster population. Harvesting is regulated by strict controls on licenses and traps fished, as well as biological measures to protect and conserve lobster populations, such as minimum and maximum legal sizes, and the mark and release of reproductive females. Massachusetts lobstermen are also at the forefront of efforts to protect marine mammals. Massachusetts is the first and only state to require lobstermen to fish exclusively by "sinking" line between traps in state waters, minimizing the risk of trapping whales and other marine mammals.
Facts about lobster and the Massachusetts lobster fishery:
- In 2008, Massachusetts commercial fishermen landed more than 11.7 million pounds of lobster in Massachusetts, generating a gross income of $50.4 million.
- Massachusetts' lobster fishery generated about $252 million for the Commonwealth's economy in 2008 by doing business with marine suppliers, bait dealers, lobster dealers, restaurants, retail outlets, supply manufacturers, fuel sales, boat and engine builders, banks and insurance companies.
- There are more than 1,330 lobster permits issued to commercial fishermen in Massachusetts and 11,000 recreational lobster permits. A total of 49 Massachusetts ports have commercial lobster trap fishermen.
- Massachusetts has about 335,000 lobster traps in state waters and another 85,000 just outside state territorial waters.
- The Massachusetts lobster trap fishery is conducted by individual, small, owner-operated enterprises.
- Massachusetts-based lobster dealers are the chief distributers of American lobster to the world market.
- Massachusetts lobstermen have removed 3,000 miles of floating rope from waters in an effort to reduce the risk of entanglements of large whales, including the endangered Northern Right Whale, and other marine mammals.
The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is responsible for promoting the enjoyment and conservation of the Commonwealth's natural resources. DFG carries out this mission through land preservation and wildlife habitat management, management of inland and marine fish and game species, and enforcement of the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. DFG promotes enjoyment of the Massachusetts environment through outdoor skills workshops, fishing festivals and other educational programs, and by enhancing access to the Commonwealth's lakes and ponds.