Maine lobsters: $3.50 a pound on Craigslist

Maine's lobstermen turn to new media to sell the age-old state symbol as its price drops.

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    Maine lobsterman Jack Bradbury.
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• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

PORTLAND, MAINE – Lobstering in Maine is as old as the towns that dot its rocky coast. There have been good years and hard years, but this last year has brought a different challenge: The catch has been fair, but prices have hit rock bottom.

The low prices are forcing Jack Bradbury and many other lobstermen to explore creative ways to sell their catch. The sunburned seaman has turned to an unlikely place – Craigslist. His listing promises “live Maine lobsters, fresh off the boat.” He’s asking $3.50 to $5 per pound for his soft-shell lobsters, depending on their size.

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Craigslist is just part of Mr. Bradbury’s new distribution plan. He’s also placed an ad in a local magazine and tried to sell lobsters from the back of his pickup in downtown Portland, Maine.

While he was inundated with responses to his first posting on Craigslist, they were mostly requests from outside Maine – Oregon, Minnesota, Georgia, Illinois – and Bradbury doesn’t want the hassle of shipping lobsters.

Still, he’ll try again, he says.

At the very least, “It’s free advertising,” he says.

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Editor's update:

A recent search on Craigslist showed that Bradbury isn't the only one "advertising" on the site. Looking for "fresh picked lobster," a specific size lobster, or lobster shipped directly to you? You can get it all on Craigslist, where prices seem to be averaging $4 a pound.

Or, if you want to try your own hand at lobstering, you can find the boat, the traps, and the bait on Craigslist, too. A five gallon bucket of deer hide ("fishes great!") is going for $45.

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