“The Last Lobster,” New Publication


The Last Lobster: Boom or Bust for Maine’s Greatest Fishery?

By Christopher White

St Martin’s Press (Publication Date: June 5, 2018)


From environmental writer Christopher White—author of Skipjack and The Melting World—comes a mystery: the curious boom in one of our favorite and most iconic seafoods and its probable crash.


Maine lobstermen have happened upon a bonanza along their rugged, picturesque coast. For the past five years, the lobster harvest has exceeded 120 million pounds, six times the record catch from the 1980s—unheard of in coastal fisheries. In a detective story, scientists and fishermen explore various theories for the glut. Leading contenders are a sudden lack of predators and a recent wedge of warming waters, which may disrupt the reproductive cycle, a consequence of climate change.


We follow three lobster captains—Frank, Jason, and Julie (one of a few female skippers in Maine)—as they haul and set thousands of traps through the seasons. They are lively characters on the water, ever wary of the future. Unexpectedly, boom may turn to bust. The captains must fight a warming ocean, volatile prices, and rough weather to keep their livelihood afloat. The oversupply of lobsters causes the lobster price to plummet. Captains work longer hours, trying to make up in volume what they lack in price. As a result, we find 3 million lobster traps on the bottom of the Gulf of Maine. In response to the overkill, Frank, Jason, and others call for a reduction of traps, which will boost prices. As such, they are among the first American communities to confront global warming and its impact on fisheries.


The survival of the Maine Coast depends upon their efforts. It may be an uphill battle to create a sustainable catch. Already, high temperatures are displacing lobsters northward toward Canadian waters—out of reach of American fishermen. The last lobster may be just ahead.



Praise for The Melting World:

“[A] moving story emerges. It’s a fascinating outdoor adventure, an illuminating look into the science of a melting mountain–a fresh warning that the warming world is already here.”

            –New York Times Book Review


Christopher White has written five books, including Skipjack: The Story of America’s Last Sailing Oystermen and The Melting World: A Journey Across America’s Vanishing Glaciers. His articles have appeared in Audubon, The Baltimore Sun, The New Mexican, National Geographic, and Exploration. He grew up on the shores of Chesapeake Bay.

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