Food & Beverage

Lobster prices are getting wicked high... again

Lobtser pops this summer

Lobster aficionados might want to keep their butter unmelted for the time being.

After a brutal winter in the Northeast, slow-to-warm ocean temperatures are delaying the summer lobster catch. Colder water generally means less-active lobsters and less crustaceans caught in cages, contributing to a tightening supply.

That means wholesale prices are already creeping about $1 to $2 higher than those seen last year, sometimes hitting $10.99 per pound. But for Maine lobster fishermen like Gary Violette, it's a welcome boost as costs keep creeping higher.

"To go lobster fishing costs me more and more every year because of fuel and bait," he said Friday on CNBC's "Power Lunch." "The last few years it's been a struggle so I enjoy seeing the price go up."

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Of course supply is only half the equation, but the other half is supporting prices as well. Demand for lobster "is hot right now," according to lobster dealer Vinnie Clough with Bayley's Lobster Pound.

"They found good ways to ship lobsters to China, and Asian markets," he said, also on "Power Lunch." "Lobster has been doing really well overseas."

But it could be worse for lobster lovers. Clough points out improvements in processing plants have helped eased the downturn in supply.

As water temperatures warm, Maine's lobster catch, which accounts for about 85 percent of America's total, is expected to pick up.