(NECN: Greg Wayland) – It’s lobster day and the celebrations were in full swing at the Massachusetts State House.
The line stretched down the echoing Massachusetts State House halls on the annual Lobster Day, with Association President Bill Adler was quick to remind:
"We're the second largest producer of lobster in the United States -- second only to Maine, of course.”
And the state workers were lining up for just a tiny cup of lobster bisque.
They could also ogle baby crustaceans -- a one-year-old lobster half the size of your index finger -- from the New England Aquarium, or marvel at this mounted monster, caught off Georges Bank in the 70s. Thirty-eight pounds!
But State House worker Joe Sheehan loves eating lobsters, especially now.
"I love how it's cheap these days. I think that's really great. I know that's tough on the fishermen and everything. "
The lobstermen will remind you of that, too.
"My cost of doing business has tripled. I'm paying more for fuel, more for bait, ah, my insurance, my help, every dockage, all of this goes up -- and the price of lobsters what I got fifteen years ago," said Cape Cod lobsterman Dave Casoni.
Lobster prices off the boat average $3.50 a pound, compared to $4.75 a year ago.
They're retailing for as low as $3.99 in at least one market.
It's supply and demand; there's too much supply this year due to very warm ocean waters this spring.
“And the lobsters thought it was July," said Bill Adler.
They began the molting or growing process prematurely and got into the traps four to six weeks early, producing abundant hard shell lobsters for shipping around the world, but a glut of younger, soft-shell New England lobsters that can only be sold locally.
"We have to do something to increase the demand," said Casoni.
They say lower prices at local supermarkets and restaurants would help. And getting local lobster-lovers to think like Briana Gentile, another State House worker.
"I think it's just knowing that it comes from New England and it's local,” she said.
Local, fresh and cheap. for now, anyway.
“It has slowed down a little now, the catch," said Adler.
The line for bisque didn't slow down.