Maine Commercial Resources Value Top $700 Million

Lobster traps in South Harpswell, Maine | By Daderot, via Wikimedia Commons

Maine’s commercially harvested marine resources topped $700 million in overall value in 2016, according to preliminary data from the Maine Department of Marine Resources. The total reflects yet another all-time high and an increase of nearly $100 million in value over 2015.

For the second straight year, the largest single increase in value was in Maine’s lobster fishery. The fishery saw the overall landed value jump by more than $30 million while the average per pound value remained over $4 for the second year in a row, at $4.07.

The overall value of Maine’s lobster fishery was again by far the highest at $533,094,366. When factoring in bonuses paid to harvesters as reported by 14 of Maine’s 19 lobster co-ops, the overall landed value of Maine’s lobster fishery reached $547,249,010.

2016 marked the first year ever that Maine lobster harvesters landed over 130 million pounds, with a total of 130,844,773 pounds. It was also the 5th year in a row in which Maine lobster harvesters landed over 120 million pounds.

At $19,019,337 Atlantic herring, the primary bait source for Maine’s lobster industry, saw an increase in value over 2015 of more than $5 million. The dollar amount ranked it as Maine’s second most valuable fishery, despite a nearly 11% decline in landings.

Maine’s softshell clam industry dropped from 2nd place in 2015 to 3rd in 2016 with an overall value of $15,656,386. The decline in overall value reflected a 13.4% decline in per pound value as well as a 20% decline in pounds landed.

“One significant factor that contributed to the decline in softshell clam landings was a closure of harvest areas between the Canadian border and Mount Desert Island associated with Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP) late in the season,” said Kohl Kanwit, Director of the DMR Bureau of Public Health. While the closure was minimized as much as possible through rigorous testing, many areas were closed for 2 to 4 weeks to ensure public health and safety.

Maine’s elver fishery was again by far the most lucrative of Maine’s commercial fisheries on a per-pound basis at $1,430.51 a pound. Maine harvesters netted 9,400 of the 9,688 available pounds of quota for an overall value of $13,446,828, an increase of more than $2 million from the previous year. The overall value ranked the elver fishery as Maine’s 4th highest.