Knowledge Exchange

Ag Economy

Aquatic / Fishing


2018 turned out to be a good year for the Maine lobster industry. The value of the catch was the second highest on record at $485.4 million. Despite a continued strong catch, there are issues that concern the industry.

  • Trade issues with China and Europe continue, and this has shifted sales from the US to Canada.
  • Reduced herring catch levels will impact bait supply, and there is a great deal of concern related to the protection of the endangered Right Whale, which could result in closures of fishing areas, or required conversion of vertical lines to some more whale-friendly format yet to be developed.
  • Finally, the lobster population continues to move northward as the waters in the gulf of Maine get warmer.


Prices are similar to this time last year, due to high catch levels, and flat demand. Larger scallops are still commanding premium prices. Permit values remain strong. The wild stock remains ample.


Although the stocks of many protected species of groundfish are rebuilt, regulations and quotas remain limiting for the industry.

  • Permit trading remains limited as regulations continued to ratchet down quotas and days-at-sea.
  • Prices have held steady, and the catch has been good on the species vessel owners are allowed to land.