DV-17-02 Healthy and happy lobsters: maximizing profit and quality in the supply chain

Patrice McCarron
Maine Lobstermen’s Community Alliance
Kennebunk, Maine

Lobsters are alive as they move through the supply chain, from the ocean to the kitchen, and an unfortunate percentage become stressed or injured. According to lobster health expert Dr. Jean Lavallée, between 8% and 15% of lobsters die before they can become food. Lobstermen are interested in minimizing this “shrink rate”, which costs the industry tens of millions of dollars. There is additional value to be gained by reducing stress and injury on lobsters. A healthier lobster will have more options in the supply chain, while a stressed, weak or injured lobster can only be sold through the lowest price channels.

In 2016, Maine Lobstermen’s Association began a series of presentations and workshops about lobster quality by Dr. Jean Lavallee. Sea Grant funds supported continued lobster quality education at the docks in Maine’s lobster management zones in the summer of 2017. The workshops provided information to lobstermen, sternment, and dock workers about lobster biology and physiology, the sensitivity of Maine lobster to changes in the environment, handling and shipping stresses, and the economics of implementing best practices from the boat through the supply chain to reduce stress, injury and mortality to Maine lobster.

Sea Grant funds: $4,000