Dave Casmi has made his living fishing for lobsters along the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, for 40 years. But he and other lobster fishermen are asking themselves if it’s even worth untying their boats from the dock anymore.
In today’s market, they are suffering from an economic triple whammy: High fuel prices mean it’s more expensive to trap lobsters, and the recession finds fewer people splurging on their catch. Plus, a lobster’s market value begins depreciating the moment it’s caught.
“I’m getting what I got 15 years ago,” he said, referring to the amount distributors are paying for his catch. “Just how long would you spend $3 to make $4?”
The situation is particularly painful for Casmi and his fellow lobstermen due to their inability to mark up the price to cover the cost of fuel: Distributors aren’t going to pay more for a product that is selling less. And because lobster needs to be sold shortly after being caught, Casmi can't hold out for higher bidders.