2023 Maine Commercial Fishing Landings

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maine lobsters

Maine commercial fishermen earned $611,277,692 (dockside value) in 2023, according to preliminary data released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR).

Total earnings for 2023 increased by more than $25 million over the previous year.

The jump in overall value can largely be attributed to a strong boat price for lobster, Maine’s most valuable species in 2023.

The price paid to fishermen increased from $3.97 per pound in 2022 to $4.95 per pound in 2023, netting harvesters and additional $72 million compared to the previous year, for a total value in 2023 of $464,371,720.

Maine’s elver fishery was the second most valuable in 2023, earning fishermen $19,508,478 on the strength of a $2,009 per pound price.

“Maine’s elver quota of 9,688 pounds expires after this year,” said Commissioner Keliher. “Fortunately, because of the strong management measures we’ve instituted here in Maine the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission American Eel Board has decided that the existing quota will remain in place, preventing what could have been a loss of millions of dollars in income for Maine’s elver industry,” said Keliher.

Through an addendum to the fishery management plan for elvers, ASMFC will establish the number of years the current quota will remain in effect.

Softshell clam diggers earned $13,881,073 in 2023, which made the fishery the state’s third most valuable.

Maine oysters were the fourth most valuable harvested product at over $11 million on the strength of a twenty cent per pound increase in value.

Menhaden, used as bait for the lobster fishery, was the state’s fifth most lucrative fishery in 2023, with a landed value of more than $10 million.

Maine’s groundfish industry also saw an increase in landings and a more stable price due in part to investments DMR made in the Portland Fish Exchange, Vessel Services, and the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association (MCFA) with Covid relief funds from NOAA.

More information on 2023 landings can be found on the DMR website commercial fishing page (www.maine.gov/dmr/commercial-fishing/).

source: Maine Department of Marine Resources

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