Maine lobster fishing season off to slow start

ROCKLAND, Maine (AP) — The cold winter is still being felt in the waters off Maine, where the nation's largest lobster fishery is off to a slow start.

The state's lobster season typically picks up after the bulk of the lobster population sheds its shells and grows to legal harvesting size. That occurred in late June last year. But state officials and lobstermen say it hasn't this year, leading to small catches.

State lobster biologist Carl Wilson says the cold winter and spring may have held back molting. Some lobstermen are reporting catches half the size they experienced at this time last year. He says molting could start happening "any day now."

Lobstermen say they expect a strong season despite the poor start. The Maine Import Export Lobster Dealers' Association's president says prices are slightly up.