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Dining & Nightlife

What Makes It A Real Maine Lobster?


The authentic Maine lobster thrives in the cold water along the Atlantic Coast, from as far north as Canada to as far south as North Carolina. But chances are, the lobster you order in Maine was born and raised in Maine.

Maine lobsters have five sets of legs and two large claws—one claw is known as the “crusher" and the other smaller claw is the pincer (watch your fingers!). Maine lobsters come in all shapes and sizes, but as lobsterman Herman Coombs so eloquently says, "The funny ones don't taste any different, they all cook up orange."

Hard-shell or soft?

The Maine lobster knows no season; lobstermen work year-round in the extreme cold of winter and the sweltering heat of summer. In winter and spring, the harvesters catch mostly hard-shell lobster. June is the start of the season for soft-shell lobsters. Soft-shell lobsters are really the same Maine lobsters during their molting phase. They are favored by locals for their sweet flavor and tender texture. The hard-shell variety are far and above the most popular due to their year-round availability.

Maine makes ’em great

To ensure that availability, the State of Maine goes to great lengths to see that the lobster population stays strong. Every lobster, when caught, is measured—the body must be between 3.25 and 5 inches or you have to throw it back. Lobster traps have to be built so smaller lobsters can escape. And every female carrying eggs must be notched with a "V" and then returned to the sea.

Lobstermen work extraordinarily hard and, as you'd expect, they have an incredible dedication to their work. It's a way of life many are born into. Tourists have to eat, right?

To learn more about Maine lobster, the Maine lobster industry or get some great recipes for cooking your own, visit