Soft Shell Maine Lobsters
Summer in Maine is the time for soft shell lobsters. Adult lobsters molt in the summer months, so soft shell lobsters (sometimes called “shedders” or shedder lobsters) start coming into the local markets in June and become more plentiful as the summer progresses.
Hard Shell Maine Lobsters
There is no special Maine lobster season for the hard-shell lobsters that are more commonly shipped out of state, since lobstering is done year-round in the waters off Maine.
More lobsters are caught in the summer months than during the winter, but that is mainly because the demand is higher due to tourism, and because the working conditions are easier. During the winter months, lobsters move further offshore, requiring lobster boats to travel greater distances, and the harsh weather makes it more difficult for fishermen to work. But lobsters are trapped throughout the year, so there is no “best time of the year” to order live Maine lobsters; you can enjoy them whenever you want a delicious treat.
Warm Water or Spiny Lobsters
Unlike the cold water lobsters from Maine, warm water lobsters from places like the Caribbean do have a fishing season, which varies by region. For example, the Spiny lobster season runs from August 1 through March 31 in the Bahamas, and from August 6 though March 31 in Florida. Many areas also have a special sport season for legal recreational fishing of the Spiny lobster; for example, the Florida Keys have a two-day sport fishing season in July, and California allows sport fishing from late September through mid March.
Because most Spiny lobsters are sold frozen or canned, however, they are available year round, and so there is little relationship between the fishing season and when frozen or canned Spiny lobsters are available in restaurants or to consumers.