Lobster Industry Booming in Maritimes

CBJ — The lobster industry is booming in the Maritimes with fishermen hauling in record catches that are commanding the highest prices in more than a decade as demand for the tasty crustaceans goes through the roof.

Aside from $65,000 trucks, the fishermen on the east coast are also buying new boats to handle the extra work.

“The order books are full and many yards are booked for a couple of years out,” said Tim Edwards, executive director of the Nova Scotia Boatbuilders Association. “They’re busier than they’ve been in at least 10 years.”

Part of the reason why boat builders cannot keep up is a growing demand for longer, wider, more complex boats, typically worth between $500,000 and $750,000.

The latest generation of vessels include so-called live wells designed to carry lobster in freshly circulated seawater. The tanks keep the lobsters healthy, which means they’re worth more at the dock. These fishing boats, which can travel farther and carry more, can’t be built fast enough, according to Edwards.

“It’s a nice situation for the industry right now.”

The market for lobster has been getting an added boost from the weak Canadian dollar, growing demand from China and a shift in consumer tastes toward processed meat in everything from lobster rolls to lobster macaroni and cheese.