Lobster Handling

Lobster Handling

Woven into the humor in the video you just saw is a real message delivered by real fishermen who take a lot of pride in landing the best quality lobsters they can. You can help us spread the word. Share it, re-post it, re-tweet, talk about it, shoot your own video and upload it – Tell us what you’re doing onboard to take better care of your lobsters…

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Why should I care?

Lobsters are animals. Plain and simple. Just as you wouldn’t leave your dog in the truck on a hot summer day, providing your lobsters with adequate water and oxygen circulation and careful handling is essential for their survival. Think about it: Each lobster is handled at least five times before it even leaves the parking lot at your dealer. That’s five chances to break a claw, rip off a leg, or puncture a tail. Add in poor water and oxygen circulation in tanks, and we’ve got a recipe for potential disaster. If we work together to make sure that each lobster is handled carefully from trap to crate, that lobster will survive better in the market chain. And better survival rates could mean more money in your pocket.

How does this affect price?

It’s simple.  A healthy, lively lobster is a premium product and can be sold for a good price. And, if a lobster dies before it reaches the consumer, it’s not worth anything to anyone. So let’s do the math: Maine landed over 126 million pounds of lobster in 2013. For example, if 3 lobsters (about 4 pounds) die in every 90 lb crate due to poor handling, at an average price of $2.89 per pound, over $16 million is lost in the market chain. This is called shrinkage. And shrinkage is a price signal that trickles all the way back down the market chain to affect boat prices.

The solution is simple

Better lobster handling reduces injury rate, drives more product to live and high-priced markets, results in less shrinkage, and has a positive influence on prices paid to fishermen. But in order for that to happen, it will take action by fishermen and it all starts onboard. But it doesn’t stop with fishermen. Dock workers, graders, packers, dealers, truckers, processors, restaurant and store owners, everyone who comes in contact with the product should understand the negative effects of poor handling. This is a new era. A lobster that is well handled from the trap to the dock is the first step.