Prepare for a Higher Price Tag on Lobster This Summer

(Image credit: AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Eating a steamed lobster is a summer rite of passage. The bib, the seafood cracker, the little cup of melted butter — it’s a whole experience.

But due to changes in water temperature, this year’s Maine lobster haul will be significantly lower than in years past — meaning lobster prices are on the rise.

It’s a simple case of supply and demand: In previous years, when water temperatures were warmer, lobsters molted — or shed their shells — earlier. Fishermen were able to pull two hauls of lobster during the summer fishing season, and with that rise in supply, prices plummeted.

But this year, after the harsh New England winter, the colder water temperatures have delayed the lobsters’ ability to molt. University of Maine professor Bob Steneck says, “I predict that it will be a one-molt season, based on temperatures.”

A smaller harvest means a bigger jump in cost — already lobster is $1 to $2 more expensive per pound than last year.

Will this change in price affect your lobster-eating habits this summer?