Lobsters are one of the most versatile and popular foods around the world. Use it in a sandwich, mac and cheese or eat it as an entrée.

But what makes a great lobster? Well, the Atlantic Ocean along Maine’s coast has great conditions to supply the perfect lobster.

What You Need To Know

  • The Labrador Current keeps water temperatures off the coast of Maine cold year-round

  • The cold water helps lobsters become tastier

  • Lobsters move to slightly warmer ocean waters when they are ready to molt

Why lobsters are important to Maine

Maine’s economy highly depends on a successful lobster fishing year.

Studies show that the lobster industry contributes a massive amount of money to the state’s economy each year. 

The industry also helps supply thousands of jobs across the state.

(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Types of lobsters

Fishers have harvested lobsters commercially for over 150 years.

There are two main types of lobsters that fishers harvest: cold-water and warm-water lobsters.

Warm-water lobsters live off the coast of Asia, the Caribbean, Florida, California and the Mediterranean.

Fishers typically catch cold-water lobsters off the coast of New Zealand, South African, Australia, and Maine.

The Labrador Current

The best months to buy lobsters are from late June to late December, but you can get lobsters year round.

You might wonder why summer would be a good time for lobster. Isn’t the water too warm?

Well, the waters off the coast of Maine stay cold year-round. This has to do with the Labrador Current.

This current flows southeastward from the Arctic and then southwest into the Gulf of Maine, allowing the coastal waters to stay frigid.

In addition to this current, the Northeast Channel also brings very cold water to the Gulf of Maine.

Why the cold water helps

The cold ocean temperature prevents saltwater from permeating the meat and slows the growth of the lobster, making their meat texture more firm than mushy. This helps create a more succulent, sweeter and tasty white meat.

When the lobsters are ready, they’ll travel closer to shore and molt. This helps them grow. The warmer waters are usually around 60 degrees.

This migration to warmer waters is the best time for fishers to catch the lobsters because it’s when they are most active and abundant.

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