SALEM, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — It might be time to break out the bibs for one cuisine well known in New England, as lobster prices have taken a dive despite inflation rising the cost of a multitude of products.
WBZ's Shari Small spoke with Wholesaler Chris Porter at Patriot Seafood in Salem about the cheap crustacean costs, and about how merchants are trying to get out the good word.
"Retail prices are between $7.99 and $8.99 a pound for a good product, and the other select two-pounders are in the $11 to $12 range. When the price goes up so high, restaurants and markets take them off the menu— so now we need to let everyone know it can go back on the menu, customers should be asking for the lobster for a fair price, especially to support the local community," Porter said. According to Patriot Seafood, those prices are about half of what they were at their peak— a welcome sight as prices seem to be hiking in every other avenue.
Many are attributing the falling price tag to the lift of the January 1 to May 15 gillnet closure from the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game Division of Marine Fisheries. Lobster traps were dry-docked for months after state officials implemented the closure intending to protect North Atlantic right whale populations, a species the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says stands at fewer than 350 in the world.
Officials say the rescinding of the closure came after aerial and acoustic surveys did not detect right whales or their food source in Commonwealth waters for several days. The department says right whales typically leave Massachusetts coastal waters within the first couple weeks of May— right around the time when the trapping ban was set to expire.
"The local lobster is sweet meat, it's very tender. Restaurants are hearing from their customers that they want a less expensive product on their plate, and they're able to do that now— more competition is happening," Porter said.
WBZ's Shari Small (@ShariSmallNews) reports.