PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine’s lobster catch is well behind last year’s pace, with only weeks left in the season.

The Portland Press Herald reports fishermen had brought less than 50 million pounds of lobster to the docks of Maine by the end of September. That’s 40 percent less than the total for 2018 for the same time period, and nearly 40 percent off the five-year average.

Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Pat Keliher said Monday that some of the dropoff could be attributed to lobsters shedding their shells late in the year. The lobster catch typically picks up when many lobsters lose their old shells and reach legal size.

Maine is by far the most productive lobster fishing state in the country and catch has been high for several straight years.

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