Looking for an inexpensive change-up for your next backyard barbeque? Try lobster. "Per pound, it's less expensive than hot dogs right now," grumbles lobster-boat captain Mike Dassatt, who fishes the coast near Belfast, Maine, with his wife Sheila
The wholesale or "boat" price of lobsters has crashed from a peak price of about $10 a pound in the winter of 2006 -- average prices in recent years have hovered around $4.50 a pound -- to a mere $2.25 today. "We're basically off the charts historically in terms of low prices for this time of year," says John Sackton, a Lexington, Mass.-based seafood industry consultant. (While retail prices vary widely by location, stores in New England have been running specials on live lobster for as little as $5 or $6 per pound.)
"Lobsters are a happy food -- something you have for your anniversary or to show off to your girlfriend -- and it's been promoted that way forever," says Albert Carver, who owns five lobster pounds on northern Maine's Beals Island. (A lobster pound is a fenced-off cove used to store caught lobsters in their natural habitat.)
"Nobody goes to the supermarket with lobster on their list," Carver says. "Steak could be $8 a pound, and they're still going to buy it because it's on their list." The way to get lobster on the shopping list, he says, is by moving lobster down market -- from the lobster tank to the frozen food aisle -- and making cheaper, frozen lobster as widely available as frozen shrimp or salmon. "If we're going to win the market back," he says, "it's going to have to happen with price."
I stopped trying to find a good lobster in Chicago. I don't care how fast it's put on a plane, it simply isn't the same by the time it gets here. Now, if it comes way down in price.....
I do not eat stuff that looks like bugs regardless of price. They could give the
nasty things away, for all I care
Acidic Oceans May Be a Boon for Some Marine Dwellers
By DeLene Beeland
ScienceNOW Daily News
1 December 2009
Researchers fret that many species of invertebrates will disappear as the oceans acidify due to increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). But a new study concludes that some of these species may benefit from ocean acidification, growing bigger shells or skeletons that provide more protection. The work suggests that the effects of increased CO2 on marine environments will be more complex than previously thought.
Bottom-dwelling marine critters such as lobsters and corals encase themselves in shells or exoskeletons made from calcium carbonate. Previous studies predict that rising ocean acidity will result in the loss or weakening of these exoskeletons or shells and increase their owner's vulnerability to disease, predators, and environmental stress. But marine scientist Justin Ries of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, hypothesized that not all ocean organisms would respond the same way to acidity because they use different forms of calcium carbonate for their shells.
Ries and two colleagues from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts exposed 18 species of marine organisms to seawater with four levels of acidity. The first environment matched today's atmospheric CO2 levels, and two others were set at double and triple the pre-Industrial CO2 levels, mimicking conditions predicted to occur over the next century. The fourth CO2 level was 10 times pre-Industrial levels. Although CO2 levels won't rise that high in our lifetime, Ries says they could within 500 to 700 years. The atmosphere did contain that much CO2 during the Cretaceous period about 100 million years ago, Ries says. "This is an interval in which many of these organisms lived and apparently did okay, despite the extremely elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 that existed at that time."
Blue crabs, lobsters, and shrimp prospered in the highest CO2 level, growing heavier shells, the researchers report today in Geology. Ries says a bulkier shell might be more resistant to crushing by predators.