Everything that you have been told about lobsters is a lie.
Okay, maybe not everything. But despite the popularity of the lobster industry (and it’s a very popular industry—bringing in over $53 million dollars in Massachusetts alone), many popular beliefs about the lobster’s existence are false.
What better time than now, with the Boston Seafood Festival approaching, to heed the advice of novelist and essayist David Foster Wallace, and “consider the lobster,” or rather: reconsider the lobster.
That said, they do live for a long time, the average female life span is about sixty years, and scientist estimate some unusually large lobsters to be over 100 years old (although it is hard to know for sure). Furthermore, the lobster not only ages slowly (females can lay eggs until death) but it can also regenerate lost appendages, so perhaps there is some basis for the immortality claim.
And while some lobsters might be as old as time (or close to it) they have not always been a delicacy. According to National Geographic, in the 17th and 18th centuries, lobsters were so abundant that they were used as food for the poor—and not even good food. Feeding your servant too much lobster was considered inhumane. There were laws forbidding people from giving servants lobster more than twice a week. Most surprising, lobsters were so cheap that they were even used as fertilizer!
But now that lobsters are not peasant food, and are more popular than ever, much is done to ensure that the lobster industry remains sustainable.
There are lobster fisheries, which have been around since the 19th century, that protect the population. Furthermore, traps are made in such a way that they do not cause habitat damage and fishermen must throw back certain lobsters that do not meet a certain size requirement (juveniles and females with eggs). Lastly, only a restricted number of fishermen can even harvest lobster.
And it’s not easy to get a license; in Maine, after completing a two-year apprenticeship program, a potential lobster fisherman has to wait ten years on average before obtaining a license. If you are interested in getting a license in Massachusetts, permits can be found here.
So, the lobster is not only mortal, and heavily protected, but it is also beloved. But it is not the only sustainable seafood that Massachusetts has to offer. If you are hungry for more information, and want to reconsider the claims, or maybe just hungry for some fish, come down to third annual Boston Seafood Festival this Sunday, July 27 at the Boston Fish Pier.
In addition to information on sustainable practices, and a clam-shucking competition, there will be food demonstrations, face painting and more.
Visit Winter Farmers’ Markets for Holiday Gifts posted on Dec 5
While performers serenade shoppers with upbeat or easy-listening music, farmers and food producers sell a wide variety of local food throughout the winter at over 40 winter farmers’ markets this season. Those who have not yet visited a winter market might be surprised by …Continue Reading Visit Winter Farmers’ Markets for Holiday Gifts
2014 DAR Agricultural Calendar: December posted on Dec 4
December’s photo contest winner was Ruth Osgood, who photographed Cranston’s Christmas Tree Farm in Ashfield.
2014 DAR Agricultural Calendar: November posted on Nov 24
November’s photo contest winner was Liz West, who photographed the farm stand at Westview Farm in Boxborough. Have you ever been to a roadside farm stand with produce out for sale without someone working the register? Produce was probably priced on the shelves, and an old …Continue Reading 2014 DAR Agricultural Calendar: November