$34 For A Lobster Roll? Today’s High Prices Driven By Consumer Buying Habits During Pandemic

Maine seafood prices are experiencing a post-pandemic bump that could persist into the future, a potential bright side to the market dislocations Covid-19 brought to the industry.

A month ago it was headline news when the iconic Wiscasset lobster shack, Red’s Eats, opened for the season with no lobster on hand. Today, there is lobster to be had – but hold onto your napkin: a lobster roll there cost $34 this week.

And the story is the same farther off the beaten path.

Gary Blackman Sr. and his wife have been running Karen’s Hideaway lobster shack in Boothbay for two decades.

“We go through this every year,” Blackman says. “But this year’s just been a crazy year.”

Lobster rolls there were $28 this week – reflecting dock prices for hard-shell that have been bouncing around $6 to $12 a pound for weeks, and that’s when there’s product coming in at all.

“I mean the price is way up but the boys aren’t catching anything. But that’s the kind of year it’s been, why, nobody has any answers,” Blackman says. “It could be the water’s too cold, the weather’s crazy. I’m hoping that in a week or two, things change.”

Lobster landings don’t usually get a full head of steam until after Memorial Day, when more boats are in the water and the lobster get more active, shedding their old shells.

But industry experts say the dizzying heights of today’s prices are being driven not just by the catch, but by the way consumers changed their buying habits during the pandemic.

Read the rest of the story at Maine Public’s website.