A glut has driven down lobster prices inMaine – bringing cheer to lobster-loving consumers at the start ofthe state’s tourist season but gloom among lobstermen. Retailers in the Portland area have been selling smallsoft-shell lobsters for an unusually low $3.79 to $4.99 a pound. Soft-shell lobsters began showing up in abundance in fishermen’straps weeks earlier than normal this spring, resulting in anoversupply. That’s good news for consumers: Lobsters have been selling forless than the per-pound price of bologna at many supermarket delicounters. But lobstermen are smarting with the low prices. Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’sAssociation, hopes a lot of people cook lobsters at their Fourth ofJuly barbecues. She says that might help clear the glut and balancethe market.