Spring Seafood Update: Lobster Looking Good & Haddock Heating Up
Get All the Latest Seafood News from Across New England
The following is the first in a series of updates Weathervane Seafood Restaurants is creating involving the state of the marine fisheries throughout New England. The updates will serve to inform readers about what’s happening out on the high seas, the types of catch fishermen are bringing to market, as well as how fishery regulations are impacting seafood restaurants like Weathervane.
Lobster Season Is Looking Good
The long winter had many seafood industry insiders worried about the upcoming lobster season in New England. This is because a rough winter, like the one we had this past year, leads to massive snow packs which result in heavy run-off when the weather warms up. This run-off can drastically impact water temperatures and salinity and as a result affects how and when lobsters develop.
“If you sat back and looked at it in mid-March, it was enough to make a grown man cry,” said Jim Collins, longtime director of procurement at Weathervane, referring to the high-piled snow packs.
Thankfully, the spring thaw came at a gradual pace, which, according to Collins, means things are starting to look good for the upcoming lobster season. So far this season, Collins said the lobster catch is on par with the 10-year average for this time of year.
“A lot of good things came together and a lot of the right things that needed to happen happened,” he said. “The wind blew in from the right direction and the melt was gradual. This assures that the lobsters are going to be plentiful and available right about when we need them.”
Collins said he expects lobster will be readily available around Memorial Day, but even that traditionally is slightly early in the season. He said there should be no doubt that the popular seafood meal will be abundant by the end of June, beginning of July.
How about Some Haddock?
Ground fishermen have been out and about this spring season—landing more and more product each and every day, according to Collins. While the landings are normally slow around this time of year, fishermen are hauling in haddock at a very healthy rate.
“The haddock fishing has been good,” he said. “We’re coming into year 3 now with a much improved haddock fishery.”
Haddock fishing is, however, expected to slow down in late May/early June due to spawning season, said Collins. Fishermen are expected to stay away from the fish when they spawn, he added.
Regulations Impacting Cod Catch
One of the biggest regulatory impacts taking place this year involves cod, according to Collins. The impacts stem from regulators imposing emergency measures that effectively make it impossible for commercial fishermen to land cod in the Gulf of Maine. Collins said the measures essentially take cod off the menu for fishermen as an allowable species to go after. The emergency measures stem from what regulators say is a depleted cod stock in the Gulf of Maine. *Weathervane doesn’t offer cod on its menu for this reason.
Staying up-to-date on what’s happening across the various fisheries is one of the major reasons Collins said Weathervane has become one of the most popular seafood restaurants in New England. However, knowing what’s happening from species to species is no easy task, he said.
“We’re constantly getting data from the Department of Marine Fisheries and from NOAA and things like that,” he said. “But really some of the most valuable information comes from those conversations we have with people up and down the coast we’ve been doing business with for years.”
Stay tuned throughout the season for even more updates on the state of the New England fisheries, as well as to find out what fishermen are up to across the Gulf of Maine. Also, don’t hesitate to stop in one of the many Weathervane locations across Maine and New Hampshire to sample some of the delicious options from our seafood menu.