Maine Fresh Lobster - Muscongus Bay Lobster

Frequently Asked Questions about Maine Lobsters

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Facts About Lobster -

Maine Lobster
Eating Maine Fresh Lobster

The American lobster is synonymous with the Maine coast. Seventy percent of all lobsters harvested in New England are caught in Maine and it is the state’s most valuable fishery.

A lobster hatches from an egg no larger than the head of a pin. Thousands of eggs are suspended from the female’s tail being held together by a jelly-like glue mass. Eggs that do not stick to the lobster will not hatch and will probably be eaten by fish or other sea creatures. When the eggs are extruded, the lobster lies on its back and cups its tail to catch the eggs. Lobster eggs take about nine months to develop from the time they are extruded.

A lobster doesn’t look much like a lobster when it first hatches, it has no claws and it looks more like an insect. When it is at this stage, it is called larva. It is about a month before the new lobster is recognizable as a lobster as we know them. During this time period, it will grow internally and shed its shell three times.

At this small stage, the lobster is very vulnerable to being eaten by fish, and very few survive out of the thousands that hatch. When the lobster finally sinks to the bottom, it may be miles from the place it is hatched as it seeks the safety of a shelter on the bottom of the ocean. Most of the early life of the new lobster is spent in hiding but the older and larger it gets, the more time it spends outside its shelter.

Lobster Maine
Muscongus Bay Lobster Wharf

It is easy to tell a male from a female. Turn the lobster on its back and look at the first pair of swimmerets (just below the back claws). These are hard and bone-like in the male but soft and feather like in the female.

Scientists have studied the things that are in the lobster’s stomach and have discovered that they catch primarily fresh food, which includes nearly 100 different animals and some plants. Some of the things lobsters often eat are – crabs, clams, mussels, starfish, sea urchins and other lobsters. Lobsters are cannibals, they will eat each other!

Lobsters are tricked into traps by using the same method with which they find food. A lobster uses something similar to our sense of taste and smell, even though they do not have a nose. They locate the food based on its being partially dissolved in the water, just as we smell things in the air. They use four small antennae located on the front of their head. Many parts of the lobster, especially the legs, are covered with tiny little hairs and these hairs are used for finding food.

Traps come in different shapes and sizes. Some are built out of wood, either rounded or rectangular. Some are made of heavy plastic coasted wire. The design stays the same for all, a netting for the entrance of the trap leading to a metal circle through which the lobster comes when he tries to get the bait. There is another funnel shaped piece of netting that leads to a second part of the trap where the lobster gets caught for the fishermen to haul up. Each trap is connected by a rope to a lobster buoy. These buoys come in many color combinations. Each lobsterman has his own color pattern, and this helps them find the traps.

Round Pond Boats
Boats hauled in for repairs

Lobstermen must measure the lobster to make sure they are large enough to keep. The measurement is made with a gauge placed between the eye socket and the end of the large body shell. Lobster come in different colors, the most common is greenish-brown with an orange underside, but there are also rare blue, red, white and yellow-spotted lobsters, although they all turn red when cooked.

Lobsters have been caught in Maine since 1605 from earliest reports, and they would throw over a net and catch them. Commercial lobstering really started sometime around the mid-1800′s.


What is the difference between hardshell and softshell lobsters?

Every June, hardshell lobsters shed their shells to grow. A soft new shell grows underneath the old hard shell. The back of the old hard shell splits down the middle and the lobster pulls its tail, claws and legs out of the old shell and becomes a softshell or new shell. Over the season, the new shell will harden and become the next season’s hardshell lobsters. Soft shell lobster season is from June through October.
~ Hardshell lobsters have more meat per pound than softshell lobsters.
~ Softshell lobsters have less meat per pound but have a sweeter flavor than hardshells.

What is the best lobster to eat?

Eat Maine Lobster
Family Dining Area

Maine Lobster is one of the few meal choices that invites you to choose your own victim. While there are some restaurants in the Midwest where you can pick out your own steak, it’s not like seeing the whole cow. With lobsters, you do see the whole thing. This leaves the diner with a few decisions:
• Should you have a soft-shell or a hard-shell lobster?
• Will a large lobster be as tender as a small lobster?

According to David Dow, former Director of the Lobster Institute in Orono, Maine, and a lobsterman himself, “Most people in the industry prefer the new shell: the ‘shedders.’ Their meat is sweet, and the shells are easy to break apart.” However, others claim hard-shelled lobsters are better because the meat is firmer and there is more of it than in a newly-molted lobster.

Of course, you have to expect that the shell will not be crammed full of lobster meat in a ‘shedder.’ Lobster dealers sometimes refer to soft-shell lobsters as “low quality”. It’s not that they don’t taste as good, but rather that in their weakened post-molt condition, these lobsters don’t transport well. So if you plan to take a Maine lobster across state lines, a hard-shell lobster travels best.

Maine Fresh Lobster
Learn About The Sea In Our Touch Tank

Because lobster meat can go bad quickly, it’s generally necessary to cook a lobster while it’s still alive. That means you pick a green lobster, but don’t eat it until its shell turns red! Never eat a cooked lobster with its tail uncurled, as it died before it was cooked.The most common way to cook lobster is to steam it in sea water (or salted water) for 10-15 minutes.






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Muscongus Bay Lobster Co.
P.O. Box 20
Round Pond, ME. 04564
Phone: 207-529-2251 ~ Email:

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