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Records from early settlers recount tales of abundant lobster in Maine waters. While always available to those who called Maine home, lobster was not originally a popular dish. In fact, it was something that poor and working class people usually ate.

But all that changed in the 1900s. The Rockefellers built a summer home on Mt. Desert Island where they often hosted elite guest from New York society. It’s rumored that a dish meant for the servants was actually served to these upper-class guests and they loved it.

Demand increased for Maine Lobster. The Maine Lobster fishery started to flourish – and it’s been growing ever since.


As demand for Maine’s tastiest crustacean increased, Mainers developed new tools and techniques to preserve and share the fresh taste of Maine Lobster.

  • In the mid 1800s, Well Smacks – fishing vessels with tanks to circulate cold seawater – were used to ship live lobster longer distances.

  • Soon after, technology to preserve food in tin cans improved and Mainers set up local canneries.

  • By 1880, canned Maine Lobster surpassed live Maine lobster in volume and was being delivered all the way to California.

  • In the 1900s, the country was more connected by ever before with railroads. Live lobster began to be shipped with ice and moist seaweed.

  • During World War II, lobster was still considered a delicacy, so it was not rationed. As a result, wealthier Americans started to eat more lobster than ever before.

  • In the 1950s, air shipment took off and allowed people on the west coast to enjoy fresh lobster just a day after it was shipped from Maine.


The Maine Lobster industry is a part of the fabric of Maine’s coastal communities. Contributing more than $1 billion to the state’s economy each year, Maine Lobster is not just a culinary icon, but also an economic engine The story behind Maine Lobster is as good as the flavor experienced in every bite. Make it Maine, Make it New Shell.

Meet the People Behind the Fishery


Maine’s waters are pristine and home to extraordinary wildlife, and our lobstermen intend to keep it that way. Our fishery harvests all lobster by hand, uses low-impact gear and takes precautionary measures to protect the lobster resource and preserve our marine habitat.

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