If you are vegetarian or stricter, you may not want to read the following post.
I got an email from a friend of mine who knew I had just returned from my little Maine vacation. Knowing how much I love seafood, she asked if I had enjoyed any lobster during my trip. This caused me to ponder - I wonder how many people outside the New England area are familiar with the delicious Maine lobster and what lobstering entails. If you're interested, read on ...
Historically, lobsters used to be so plentiful that Native Americans used them to fertilize their fields and to bait their hooks for fishing. Now, they are not nearly as plentiful due to overfishing and commercialization. They ARE still considered a delicacy by many and as such, command a fairly high price (the last time I was in Maine lobster meat was selling for $47.95 a pound, US compared to crab meat - my personal favorite - at $17.95 per pound).
To catch a lobster involves devious technology - a trap is needed. There are lots of laws concerning the trap (I won't bore you with the details - if you are interested there is lots of information on the Dept of Marine Resources website) but basically most traps contain a small compartment which the lobster enters and has a tough time exiting. The lobster is lured into this compartment with bait.
Then the traps are lowered into the water. Each trap is attached to a colored buoy (all those dots in the water are buoys) and each buoy has a unique color combination which fishermen use to identify their traps. It is actually illegal in the State of Maine to pull a trap that is not registered to you. Each buoy also has to be marked with a fishing license number.
Finally, the lobstermen pull their traps and sell their catches to you directly or via a restaurant. Contrary to popular belief, a lobster is not bright red by nature. They are actually a brownish/green so they can blend into their environment. Lobsters turn bright red only after they have been cooked, as seen below.
Mmmmm, mmmmm - good!