Solid Lobster Catch Foreseen, But Fuel Prices Loom

PORTLAND, Maine — On the heels of last year's record-shattering catch, another bountiful lobster harvest is expected this year in Maine. But the outlook for the upcoming season is being tempered by high fuel costs, high bait costs and a still-fragile economy.

Maine fishermen last year caught more than 90 million pounds of lobster, breaking the previous record of 81.2 million pounds in 2009. Even though the resource is in strong shape and signs are pointing to another whopper of a harvest, lobstermen are approaching the season ahead with caution.

"You never know what Mother Nature has in store for you," said Wayne Ciomei, a lobsterman from Stonington who began hauling traps this week. "If we can get the price for our catch up a little bit, that helps counter the price of bait and fuel because that's a killer for us."

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