REGION — If you were to say that your local food joint hadn’t increased the price of their lobster rolls, you’d be the exception. Restaurants in the region are feeling the impact of increased lobster prices. In the past few months, many local restaurants have been increasing the prices of their lobster products. Some have taken fresh lobster off the menu altogether.

The New York Times reported that some lobster shacks across Maine are selling lobster rolls for as high as $34.

The issue this year and the reason for the increase is that lobsters are just really, really high. They’re exceptionally high,” said Tawyna Clough, owner of Mosher’s Seafood in Farmington. “This isn’t a normal increase in lobster prices. What we’re seeing right now is not close to normal.”

For the first time in “four or five years,” Mosher’s has had to increase the price of their large lobster roll from $21 to $26. Likewise for the Dutch Treat in Wilton, who has increased their lobster roll by a dollar twice this year for the first time in a while.

“It always makes it harder when the prices go up but we still seem to be selling quite a few of them,” said Allison Welch, owner of the Dutch Treat.

Calzolaio Pasta Company in Wilton has had to take fresh lobster off the menu.

Tom Marcellino, co-owner of Calzolaios, said that “in order to sell (lobster) and maintain the right percentage of cost, I would have to sell it at an exorbitant amount of money that I would not be interested in paying myself nor would I be interested in asking my customers to pay even though people may choose to do that.”

I’ve chosen at this point in time not to ask customers to pay a ridiculous amount of money on a lobster roll or lose money on it,” Marcellino explained.

At the docks, lobstermen are benefitting from the prices but fearing the potential drop-off.

Mark Bradstreet, a lobsterman from Camden said that the dock price for selling lobster is nearly $3 a pound higher than it normally would be. He’s currently selling lobster at $6.80 a pound when ordinarily at this time of year, he’d be selling it for $4.

Bradstreet said there’s a variety of reasons causing this dramatic increase: lobstermen are catching less lobsters than usual, Canadian processors are buying up a lot of American product, there’s a “boom” in tourism in Maine this year, and there’s a shortage of lobstermen — in particular, sternmen, who assist on the boats.

Bradstreet’s biggest concern is how “there may in fact be less lobsters to catch.” He explained that the Maine lobster catch peak has declined from 120 million pounds to 100 million pounds over the last few years. Though his business is prospering right now, the threat of lobsters disappearing in the coming months always looms in the background.

Though quite a few restaurants in the area have increased their prices, Clough and Welch say that increasing lobster prices have not yet hurt their businesses.

It doesn’t seem to be impacting people buying them,” Welch said.

Farmington is a tourist town,” Clough said. “The tourists are here right now and I’m not sure that they’re overly surprised by the price.”

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