Commercial fishing in the Northeast is a very diverse industry, but the main sectors are lobster, scallops and groundfish.
It’s been a slow start to the lobster season, but overall things are going very well for lobstermen in the gulf of Maine. Demand, both domestically and internationally, has been good, and prices have held up well. Lobster permit prices have been high. There were concerns early in the season about bait supplies, but pogies have been able to be substituted for the scarcer herring, ensuring adequate supplies.
For scallops, the catch so far this year has been exceptional. Both the average size and quantity of scallops landed are up significantly. This indicates a healthy ocean population of the species. While market prices have fallen, due to the strong supply, ample catches have generally made up for the lower price per pound.
Groundfishing remains challenging due to continued ratcheting down of quotas. Little new investment is being made in this sector. So far, the catch for most species has been decent, subject to quotas and restrictions. Generally it has been “status quo” for this sector, with profitability good but not great for most.