Knowledge Exchange

Ag Economy

Aquatic / Fishing


Reports from the Maine Department of Marine Resources indicate that 2018 was a good year for the Maine lobster industry, with landings of 119 million pounds, leading to roughly $485 million in sales, the second-highest value on record.

2017 landings showed a drop from 2016, but catch volumes rebounded in 2018.

Despite good volume and pricing, trade issues with China and Europe have been significant. Exports to China dropped after China’s 25 percent tariff took effect on July 6.1 Canada has been a strong competitor in the lobster export market, due to their tariff-free status with China and the European Union.

Bait shortages and costs have been an issue as well.

Warming waters in the North Atlantic has caused the lobster population to shift North, leading to strong catch levels in Maine, and lower catch levels in Southern New England.


Prices are down from last year, due to exceptional catch levels and flat demand. Permit values, however, are holding 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 continued to be limited in 2018 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.

1 Undercurrent News / NOAA