Bread is Up, Lobster is Down
“I’ve seen lower prices over the years, but I’ve never seen prices actually drop in April,” says chef Jasper White, owner of the Summer Shack seafood restaurants in Boston and Cambridge.
Boston-based fish distributor Michael Dulock of Sunny’s Seafood says last year’s inflated lobster prices were caused by a combination of errors. In fall 2006, lobstermen in Maine and Canada did not reserve enough stock in floating crates called pounds, and ocean temperatures remained too cold to resume lobster fishing last April.
“The water was 7 to 8 degrees colder this time last year. The cold water keeps the lobsters dormant and the fisherman didn’t catch anything. They weren’t moving for the bait. So it was a combination of those two things,” he said.
This past fall, says Dulock, lobstermen were better prepared, by reserving more from their fall catch. They had a side benefit of lower fuel prices for their fishing vessels as well. But this spring’s warmer temperatures meant lobstermen were back out, creating a window of abundance and dropping prices.
What does that mean for consumers or anyone with an expense account?
“Lobsters are the deal of the season,” says Dulock.
At approximately $7 wholesale (the price changes daily), compared with halibut, which is in the $14 range wholesale for fillets, high-end lobster seems to be a surprising steal.