Fishermen find that one lobster does not make a summer

Colder sea temperatures have forced up prices of the crustaceans

Low sea temperatures and inclement weather have reduced lobster yields, resulting in record prices. Photograph: Alan Betson

Low sea temperatures and inclement weather have reduced lobster yields, resulting in record prices. Photograph: Alan Betson

Mon, Jun 3, 2013, 01:00

Summer may be coming at last, but try telling that to the lobsters. Sea temperatures have been so slow to rise this year that the marine crustaceans have had no appetite to go looking for grub.

Spurning tasty bait left in pots, lobsters have lain low in their burrows.

This, combined with gales which have kept boats tied up, has resulted in record prices for those that have been caught – at up to €20 a kilo, compared to around half that price at the quay this time of year.

“It’s only in recent days that the price has started to drop,” Bord Iascaigh Mhara fisheries development executive Dr Ian Lawler said.

“Two weeks ago, we heard of lobsters selling retail in Dublin at €35 a kilo.It has been so unusually cold, and lobsters are cold-blooded anyway, so when water temperatures drop they don’t forage,” he explained.

Mayo inshore fisherman Eamon Dixon, who is part of the Responsible Irish Fish network, said that both lobster and crab catches were well down in his area. “We’ve been hearing the same trend in England and Scotland until about a week ago, so we are not alone,”he said.

Ireland’s inshore fleet normally lands about 400 to 600 tonnes of lobsters a year, and up to 80 per cent of that quantity is caught in the summer months between May and August, with peak prices for those who can also supply the traditional Christmas and Easter markets.

“We’ve hardly pickled that tonnage at all this year and we are almost into June,” Dr Lawler says.