After several years of low prices, lobster is once again swimming out of reach for many consumers.
Due to an unusually cold winter, lobster prices have reached historic highs, reports CNN Money. Demand from consumers and restaurant buyers around the world has steadily increased but trappers faced less than stellar supplies in the New England harbors this spring.
"This winter, inshore water temperatures dropped...and many inlets and harbors froze," Tom Flanigan, owner of wholesaler Seaview Lobster, told CNN Money. The water temperature has failed to rise enough for the usual hoards of lobsters to journey closer to shore.
Sellers have had to raise prices to make up for the lack of fresh lobsters.
"This is the first time I have had to raise prices in 6 years," Susan Povich, owner of Red Hook Lobster Pound in Brooklyn, New York told CNN Money. Last year, Povich sold whole lobsters for $12 a pound. This year it’s up to $15.99.
This comes after record catches in 2013 and 2013 forced the price of lobster to historic lows.
According to the NOAA, Maine landed 85 percent of the lobster caught in the United States in 2013.
Outside of the U.S., demand for lobster has skyrocketed in many Asian countries, especially China. In 2014, the Chinese imported $90 million worth of lobster compared to just $2.1 million in 2009—a 4000 percent increase in five years.
Supplies may be dwindling in the early season but don’t retire those claw crackers just yet.
Matt Jacobson, executive director of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, told CNN that waters will continue to warm up from July and August, meaning more lobsters will migrate and shore and help replenish lackluster supplies.
If you're still willing to cough up the big bucks for the gourmet crustacean, here are some recipes to get your butter flowing.