The unusually warm weather in New England has made for an unusually long lobstering season in Maine.
The mild weather means there is an abundance of lobsters in the Gulf of Maine and many lobstermen are continuing to fish well into December, when — in years past — freezing water and stormy seas would have sent most to shore, the Associated Press reports. It adds:
“Lobster fishing off New England peaks in the summer, and the fleet typically reduces to a few hardy souls when the cold months arrive. But more boats than usual are still on the water this year because conditions remain good, fishermen and dealers said.”
Fishermen and lobster dealers expect to see “record lobster landings” for December, according to The Ellsworth American, but the weather change could spell danger for the lobsters in other ways as well.
Andy Pershing, the chief scientific officer at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute said earlier this year that the higher temperatures could threaten the lobsters well-being.
“Warmer water brings predators such as hake into the Gulf of Maine in greater numbers, and it makes lobsters susceptible to a disease that softens their shells,” he said according to the Portland Press Herald.
This disease has already affected about a third of lobster populations in Rhode Island.
The warming water in the Gulf of Maine could make lobsters there more likely to suffer from this bacterial disease, which cause dark spots on the lobsters which make them harder to sell.
For now, the lobster fishing hasn’t much affected the price of lobster, which are selling for around $10 per pound in Maine. The AP reports that the price of scallops, however, has increased slightly, as fewer fishermen are catching scallops in favor of lobster and some retailers’ stocks are low.