Maine commercial fishermen once again landed more than a half-billion dollars’ worth of marine resources in 2017. At $569,173,089, the total value stands as the fourth highest ever and marks only the sixth time that Maine harvesters have surpassed $500,000,000.
“Maine’s commercial harvesters have again established our state as a leader in the sustainable, responsible management of marine resources,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Not only do they contribute greatly to our state’s economy, they consistently deliver the best seafood in the world.”
Lobster landings in 2017 were the sixth highest on record at 110,819,760 pounds, despite declining by 16 percent from 2016. Value also dropped from $4.08 a pound in 2016 to $3.91 a pound for an overall value of $433,789,855 which still represented the fourth highest landed value for Maine’s iconic fishery.
When accounting for bonuses paid to harvesters by 15 of 20 Co-Ops, the overall landed value of lobster was $450,799,283.
According to National Marine Fisheries Service data, American lobster was the species of highest landed value in the U.S. in 2015 and 2016, and Maine’s landings accounted for approximately 80 percent of that landed value in 2016.
“The past year has underscored what I’ve been saying for years now – that change is inevitable and we must be prepared,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “This year’s decline in lobster landings is by no means a signal that the sky is falling. But it does highlight the need to make sure our management measures adapt to change. This is true for all fisheries. It is the best way to ensure resilience of our marine resources and opportunity for future generations.”
Herring, the primary bait source for the lobster industry, again represented the second most valuable commercial fishery at $17,993,786 on the strength of a record per-pound price of twenty-seven cents. Harvesters landed 66,453,073 pounds, most of which was harvested from the in-shore Gulf of Maine area known as Area 1A.
Despite a drop of nearly 4 million pounds landed and a dip of $3.8 million in value, Maine’s softshell clam industry remained the third most valuable commercial fishery at $12,363,328.
Maine elver harvesters enjoyed another season in which their fishery was by far the most valuable on a per pound basis. Harvesters landed 9,343 pounds of the 9,688-pound state quota. At $1,303 a pound, the elver fishery was valued at $12,155,672, the fifth highest per pound and overall value in the history of the fishery.
Maine scallop harvesters landed the most scallops since 1997, bringing ashore 793,544 meat pounds, a nearly 45 percent jump from 2016. At $9,300,111, scallop landings had the highest overall value since 1993.
More landings data can be found online at www.maine.gov/dmr/commercial-fishing/.
source: Maine Department of Marine Resources