Massachusetts Lobster Day Declared
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 the lobster fishery to the Commonwealth's economy, and the abundance of lobster in Massachusetts waters in early October.
"Buying lobster is a great choice for its nutritional value, for its contribution to the local fishing community, and of course for its great taste," said DFG Commissioner Mary Griffin. "Massachusetts lobster is part of the new Commonwealth Quality Program, which promotes local, fresh Massachusetts food products. October is a great time of year to get an excellent quality lobster at a good price."
The Seal of Commonwealth Quality, set to launch by the Department of Agricultural Resources in 2011, will distinguish Massachusetts products that meet comprehensive program requirements as well as federal, state and local regulatory regulations. The seal will appear on certified Massachusetts produce, dairy, seafood and lumber products at farm stands, farmers' markets and retail locations across the state.
American lobster 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.
"Our fishing industry, and especially the lobster industry, is one of the largest contributors to the Massachusetts economy," said Rep. James M. Cantwell. "I am pleased Governor Patrick is acknowledging that contribution to the economy, as well as the industry's long and storied contribution to the rich history of Massachusetts and New England."
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.
"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. Besides having a delicious and healthy dinner experience, everyone will also be supporting our Massachusetts lobstermen. Buy local, buy fresh."
Facts about lobster and the Massachusetts lobster fishery:
- In 2009, Massachusetts commercial fishermen landed more than 11.6 million pounds of lobster in Massachusetts, generating a gross income of $41.9 million.
- Massachusetts' lobster fishery generated about $210 million for the Commonwealth's economy in 2009 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 1,300 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.
- The commercial lobster fishery is the second most valuable fishery in Massachusetts, after the sea scallop fishery.
- The Massachusetts lobster trap fishery is conducted by individual, small, owner-operated enterprises.
- 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.
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.