Maine vs Canadian Lobsters: Is There a Difference?

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The best lobsters come from just a few places in the world, with the coast of Maine being one of the most famous for producing some of the largest, tastiest crustaceans. But you may have heard of Canadian lobster, too, and wonder whether lobsters that come from more northern seas are any different than those from Maine water.

If we were to answer the question quickly and without much detail, we’d say that no, there’s not much of a difference between the two. Lobsters that come from warm-weather areas, like the coast of California, are much different than cold weather lobsters from Maine or Canada, but those from cold regions don’t appear much different on the surface. However, there are a couple of reasons why Maine lobsters stand out from their Canadian versions:

Shell Hardness

Although Canada and Maine are so close to each other, the waters can have differences in temperature. Both coasts are known for their much colder water than the central and southern parts of the Atlantic, but the more northern Canadian waters get to the most extreme temperatures. The colder the water, the harder a lobster’s shell can be.

Hard-shelled lobsters are in both Canadian and Maine waters. When lobsters grow, they lose their previous shell and grow a new one. As the seasons’ change and water becomes colder, lobster shells harden to protect them from the cold temperatures. Some people insist that Canadian lobster shells get thicker than Maine lobster shells, but the difference would be so slight that it’s likely unnoticeable. However, Canadian lobster’s shells could get thicker a little sooner than Maine lobster’s shells because the water turns colder earlier in the summer season.

What does this mean? Usually, the best flavor comes from lobsters with thinner shells (plus, they’re much easier to remove meat from!). Maine lobsters may have a longer season with thinner shells than their Canadian counterparts.


Chef Gordon Ramsey and other lobster connoisseurs will tell you that there is a vast difference in flavor between Maine and Canadian lobsters (this video from a Kitchen Nightmares episode proves Ramsay’s thoughts on the issue!). Some may disagree (like the restaurant owner in that episode) because they all come from the same water. Canadian lobster is much less expensive, usually than Maine lobster. You can typically find them for 50% to 75% of the price, so why not get the cheaper one?

However, when you buy Maine lobster, you’re getting the lobster that people all over the world crave. There must be something right about it for it to have become so famous and coveted that even some of the best chefs in the world won’t use anything but.

Part of the cost, admittedly, is because Maine lobster has become such an essential piece of American culture and Maine’s economy. The whole country looks forward to the Maine lobster season! But, the only way for lobster to become this important to people around the globe is because of its taste. No one talks about Canadian, Californian, or Australian lobster the way they talk about Maine lobster. You might pay more, but the taste is worth every single penny.

Conclusion: The Canadian vs Maine Lobster Difference
Maine lobster is a crucial part of Maine’s economy and culture, making it an important part of America’s economy and culture, much more than Canadian lobster is to Canada. Professional chefs look to Maine lobsters for their most prized dishes that people flock to their restaurants to enjoy. They get shipped around the world for everyone to be able to enjoy a piece of Maine’s lobster season. At Maine Lobster House, we’re dedicated to bringing you only the best your money can buy with our fresh Maine lobsters shipped directly to your door. We invite you to experience the difference.