Most people know how to shop online, but few understand the process of sourcing and shipping a product. That process is further complicated when the purchase is caught fresh, shipped live, and on your kitchen table within 24 hours. Getting fresh lobster for sale from the ocean to your table is easier than ever for customers, but companies put in a lot of work to develop streamlined catch and delivery systems.

Below, we’ve outlined a few key processes and responsibilities fisheries have in order to put live lobster for sale online, then ship it to your home.

Harvesting Methods

Lobster companies often spend years perfecting their harvesting methods, honing their equipment, and learning about the best spots to lay their traps. Most commercial lobster fisheries catch their product in traps, which are marked by colorful buoys. To retrieve the catch, fishermen haul these traps toward the water’s surface, often by hand or with the help of a motor attached to a fishing vessel. Once the lobsters are taken from the trap, the fisherman will place strong rubber bands on their claws to prevent injury to both people and other lobsters while in captivity.

The State of Maine has strict laws governing lobstering, many of which affect harvesting methods. Importantly, there are several size and weight restrictions, and lobstermen have to use a special gauge to accurately measure a lobster’s length. As a result, the process of harvesting lobster extends beyond laying and hauling traps. Fishermen must check each crustacean to ensure legal compliance.

Company Configurations

While lobster harvesting does not often differ between fishermen, there are some important distinctions between the lobster delivery companies themselves. Some lobster companies are vertically integrated, meaning they have a hand in every step of the process – from harvesting the lobsters to marketing, packing, and selling the product. These companies often have the most control over and knowledge of the product’s quality. This increases a company’s reliability.

By contrast, some lobster companies control just one part of the process – either fishing, selling, or shipping. While these specialized companies can offer more efficient services, they may have less knowledge of the product because they do not source them themselves. When looking at lobster for sale, it’s helpful to read the company’s “About” page to see how much of a hand they have in harvesting and sourcing.

Figuring Out What to Sell

When selecting lobster for sale, companies need to consider several factors. As mentioned about, various laws govern a sellable lobster’s size and weight. The legal minimum length in Maine is 3.25 inches; anything under that must be tossed back into the water. Similarly, the maximum legal size is 5 inches wide. These lobsters are called “jumbos” and will weigh between 3 and 4 pounds. If you see a company advertising 5-pound lobsters and higher, they are either lying or selling the crustacean illegally.

A different selection process comes into play when choosing which lobsters to ship. Unless frozen, lobsters spoil rapidly after death, which means companies prefer to ship the most lively, animated crustaceans of the catch when shipped overnight. The lobster must stay alive outside of water for the duration of the trip, and while this is possible for healthy animals, an old or weak lobster may not survive. It takes a practiced hand and a knowing eye to spot the lobsters who have the best shot.

Efficient Marketing

If you spend time comparing Maine lobster delivery prices, you’ll start to notice some similarities between companies. Most businesses will point out that they have relationships with local fishermen to guarantee the freshest product possible, while others talk up the fact that they source all their fish themselves. You’ll see words like, “fresh,” “high-quality,” and “family-owned,” often accompanied by a quaint story about the company’s humble roots. But what does this all mean?

Lobster companies and fisheries love to play up the idea that Maine is a quaint, humble environment full of long-time fishermen and family-owned businesses. In reality, many of these companies are developed, well-oiled machines experienced in efficient harvesting and shipping methods.

A quick scroll through a company’s website is a great way to understand their product and business model. As a general rule of thumb, the more developed the website, the more experienced the company is in sales. Web development can also indicate a discretionary budget, which allows for a company to spend resources outside of harvesting and shipping its lobster for sale. However, this efficiency may also mean the company has less of a hand in the actual lobster catching.

It is important to remember a lobster company will only broadcast the benefits and good things about their product. Customers should remain skeptical while researching companies to figure out what type of product they are buying. We also suggest you check out our resource for how to buy lobster online without wasting money.

Getting to Your Table

If you do not live close enough to pick up an order, a company will get fresh seafood from the fishery to your table via overnight shipping. This is the fastest and most efficient way to ship live and/or perishable products.

Prior to shipping, the lobster company will collect the number of lobsters you have ordered. Most companies prefer to ship live lobsters in Styrofoam coolers, which can then be placed inside carboard boxes for easier, more secure shipping. The lobsters must remain damp and cool in order to survive the trip, so the box packer will add a combination of ice and cool packs to allow the box to retain a low temperature. Once the lobsters are safely inside their temporary home, the company will deliver the shipment to their shipper of choice, often FedEx. Lobster companies who frequently ship live lobsters may have a delivery vehicle collect shipments directly from the business each day.