Maine Lobster (Homarus americanus). Our Maine lobsters are sourced through the family and cooperative run fisheries of the northeastern Maine Coast. This geographic area is commonly referred to as “Down East” Maine*, a term which covers the Maine coastal communities from Ellsworth to the Canadian border. These waters are located right in the heart of the Gulf of Maine, which is home to one of the richest areas of marine biodiversity in the world.
The cold Gulf of Maine provides a plentiful supply of lobsters on a consistent daily basis (except Sundays…No commercial lobster fishing in Maine on Sundays). The Maine lobster fisheries are monitored on both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the catch, and strict regulations are enforced to assure the prosperity of both the natural resource as well as the fishery. Strict laws govern not only how many traps an individual may fish, but also the size of lobsters which may be kept. Maine is the only state in the Union to have implemented a set legal maximum size limit, as well as a minimum. The only lobsters which may be taken from Maine waters are those which measure greater than 3 ¼”, and less than 5” along the carapace. Additionally, as the Maine lobster is trap caught, environmental concerns such as by-catch and destruction of natural habitat are not pertinent issues.
Any untargeted species which may have been lured into a lobster trap may be returned to the wild unharmed, and trap fisheries do not possess any of the negative baggage associated with bottom trawling. The State of Maine recognizes that the lobster industry is the economic backbone of many coastal communities, and takes painstaking measures to assure a high level of environmental sustainability is maintained. This ecological awareness works to the benefit of both the natural resources and those who rely upon them for their livelihood. We at J.P.’s Shellfish do our best to support these small local fisheries, and the practices they employ.
*Though the origins of this term aren’t entirely clear, it is commonly accepted that it is a hold over from the days when sailing vessels would make the run from Boston to this region, which is both DOWN wind (the wind at their backs) and EAST of Boston. The return voyage was, therefore into or “up wind”. Even today, it is not uncommon for Mainers to refer to making the trip “up to Boston”, though the city lays some 50 plus miles South of the southern Maine border.