Lobster prices depend on the time of year, the size of the harvest, and simple supply and demand. Usually prices are higher in the winter and lower in the summer.
In the winter months, fewer fishermen are out pulling in lobster, causing the initial prices to be higher, and the holidays also increase the demand, which drives the price up. The market price is also determined by the dealer who buys the lobster from the fishermen, the wholesalers who buy from the dealers, and the small wholesalers and fish markets who sell the lobsters to restaurants.
Most of the lobsters in the U.S. market come from the northern New England states of Maine and New Hampshire. But Canadian lobster also affects the market, and when the market slows in winter, more lobster is imported from Canada.
In the summer months, more fishermen are in the ocean, which means more lobsters are being caught. But because lobsters shed in the summer, giving them a soft shell, they are more easily hurt or killed, making winter a safer time to buy a healthy lobster.
Many companies also ship live lobsters to customers, and the lobsters can usually live for a day or two in the fridge. When you buy a lobster, smaller is better. As lobsters age and get bigger, the meat gets tougher and less sweet.