When the world wants lobster, it turns to Maine, the relatively quiet, picturesque state of the union that’s up in the far northeastern corner of the country. As home to the world’s largest lobster fishery, it catches over 130 million pounds of lobster every year. It’s also one of the oldest industries that’s operated continuously in North America, dating back to the early English settler in the 1600s, when the first catch of lobster was documented.
As a resource, stringent, centuries-old rules have now been formally put in place by the state of Maine to protect Maine lobsters as a sustainable resource. Maine’s lobster industry has been a hailed as a prime example of a highly successful sustainable fishery.
The lobster industry in Maine is a foremost sustainer of communities along the coast of Maine. There are an estimated 5,600 licensed lobstermen and over 300 dealers and processors of lobster, plus an almost limitless number of lobster restaurants and shacks. Just as numerous are boat builders that play an essential role in supporting Maine’s waterfront lobster industry.
The lobster fishing season runs pretty much the entire year. But there are differences in the lobster catch from the first half of the year to the second half. Between December and June, “hard-shell” lobsters are mainly caught. They have a distinct taste that is saltier with densely packed meat. During the months from July to November, lobsters known as “new-show” are caught mostly. They have a flavor that’s sweet and distinctive, with a meat texture that’s tender, and the shells crack open easily with just a grip of your hands so you don’t need to fuss with a lot of utensils.
When it comes to cuisine, lobster’s not just for steaming anymore! Lobster can play a significant role in so many recipes and can add a rich, indulgent flavor to any dish. Lobster has been coupled by chef’s with seasonings with a lot of spice like crushed red pepper and curry, natural ingredients from the good earth like basil and ginger, and ingredients with strong flavors such as bacon and garlic.
Another accolade that’s put Maine on the map as the Lobster Capital is the recognition of National Lobster Day. The special day was originally celebrated in June, but June came during the lobster off-season. But in 2015, a group of states that included Maine made a proposal to recognize National Lobster Day on September 25th, which falls midway through the height of Lobster season. So now, with its very own official day, National Lobster Day is celebrated in restaurants and homes nationwide. This year, do your part to celebrate and enjoy a delicious lobster meal!