Image from University of Maine.
Maine lobster is one of the more well-managed, sustainable, feel-good fisheries around – and it is particularly unique given the close coordination between fishermen, scientists, and government to share management. As a former scientist working on the Maryland blue crab fishery, trust me when I tell you how precious a thing that is. So, lobster is great if you’re trying to be responsible about your seafood, but those sea bugs are not the only critters being caught as part of the lobster fishery – there’s also the herring used as lobster bait.
And herring is in trouble, sending lobstermen looking for alternatives, with farmed salmon being a potentially stellar option. We’re not even talking the whole salmon, either, lobster pots would be baited only with the carcasses left over from filleting – the garbage. (May I direct you here for a look at how Icelanders are using their own fish garbage).
Now, fish farming has its own host of issues – and can be particularly impactful to lobstering, as the article points out – but land-based recirculating aquaculture systems like the farms being constructed in Maine circumvent most of them. Perhaps old-school and new-school seafood production can combine their powers to make Maine the R.A.D. leader in the sustainable fisheries of the future.