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December 21, 2015 | last updated December 21, 2015 9:13 am

As lobster sales to Europe fall, Maine lobstermen look to Asia

The strong U.S. dollar and softer economy in Europe are driving down lobster sales this Christmas, when the tasty crustaceans are being seen as an unaffordable luxury, according to the Associated Press.

However, New England fishermen are still catching more lobsters than ever, especially in Maine, where the AP noted that lobstermen are topping a total of 140 million pounds caught for the third straight year following typical amounts of 60 million to 90 million pounds in the 1990s and 2000s.

The wire service quoted lobsterman William Adler as not being concerned, because lobster exports from America to China rose to $90 million last year compared to $2.1 million in 2009, according to federal statistics.

Adler told the AP, "There's growth in Asia. Whatever happens in Europe happens."

Mainebiz wrote in an August article that strong demand for lobster from China was boosting prices of the crustacean in Maine.

Fish and crustaceans are the top export from Maine, up 21% to almost $457 million in 2014, according to data from the Maine International Trade Center.

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