Maine is famous for the supply of succulent lobsters they produce year after year. This natural resource is protected by a series of laws, rules and regulations that help the state of Maine maintain a healthy and flourishing population of lobster. Sizing and grading lobster also helps the consumer know what kind of meat they are purchasing. The cost is also determined by the size and grade of the lobster. What are some of these regulations? How are lobsters from Maine measured and graded? What are the legal limits? Here is a look at how lobsters are sized and graded in the beautiful state of Maine.
Once caught, a lobster’s size is determined using the state of Maine’s double-sided gauge. The carapace or body of each lobster is measured using this gauge. To do so accurately, the length is determined by measuring from the rear of the eye to the rear of the shell or carapace. The minimum legal length is 3 1/4 inches. The maximum is 5 inches. Anything below the minimum or above the maximum is to be immediately returned to the water where they were found. Ignoring these regulations is costly and penalties for each violation and subsequent lobster are steep. Once the length of the lobster had been determined, and it meets the appropriate standards, it can be graded and then sold.
Grading a lobster is a way of determining its value and quality. It enables the consumer to know how much lobster meat and the quality of the meat that they are purchasing. The best lobsters are Grade A. The highest grade is given to those with hard shells. They have the most meat. The shells are hard because time has passed since the molting of the old shell. These grade A lobsters fetch the highest price. The next is grade B. These are generally lobsters that are caught in the summer, their shells are firm or medium hard. The molting process was not very recent, but the hard shell is still forming. The meat in these lobsters are not as robust as in grade A, but they are still delectable! Finally the next grade is divided into two industrial grades. The first is grade is Market. This means that these lobsters can be sold at local markets and to local customers. The next grade is called Canners. These are low quality lobsters that are cooked for meat at processing plants.
Live Maine Lobsters vary in size and quality. In Maine, the health and protection of this important species is taken seriously. The regulations all help the consumer know what they are buying. This ensures that you will always get the very best lobster for your money. Protecting the population means that for many more years to come, Maine will continue to provide us with this tasty delicacy!