Scientists are trying to toughen up the shell of Maine’s soft summertime lobsters, hoping to help the industry fetch higher prices and ship to distant markets.
The University of Maine and Ready Seafood Co. of Portland are joining forces to examine what influences shell growth in Maine’s signature product to see if they can speed up the shell-hardening process in recently molted lobsters.
In Maine, the summer catch is mostly soft-shell lobsters, or shedders, which sell for a lower price per pound than a hard-shell lobster. The majority of the summer lobster catch is sold to the domestic market because their fragile shells can’t withstand shipping long distances. Hardening the shell just a little could turn a shedder into a more valuable lobster, regardless of its final market, as well as one that can survive a plane
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