AP quotes Wahle in article on lobster industry fears of weaker shells

The Associated Press spoke with Rick Wahle, a research professor at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center, for the article, “Lobster industry fears weaker shells but evidence is mixed.” U.S. lobster exports to Asian countries have increased exponentially this decade, and American shippers prefer lobsters with hard, sturdy shells to survive the journey, according to the article. But some members of the U.S. industry have complained in recent years of poor shell quality among lobsters, and they’ve raised concerns about warming ocean waters or acidification of the ocean having a negative effect on lobster shells, the article states. Wahle, who studies lobsters, said he hasn’t “heard anything that lobsters are necessarily getting softer,” but he and many other scientists said lobsters do face environmental challenges that could impact their ability to be shipped. There appear to be subtle effects on lobster larvae from acidification, but nothing to suggest something as dramatic as weaker shells, Wahle said. It’s possible that processors are just seeing more “soft shell” lobsters that have recently molted, which is a natural process necessary for them to grow, he said. The Bangor Daily News, Portland Press Herald, U.S. News & World Report and Maine Public carried the AP report.