Maine lobster sales face disadvantage

The lobster export challenge

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- The future of Maine’s largest edible export hangs in the balance. Lobster suppliers are watching closely as the trump administration considers the country’s international trade policies.  They could have a big impact on companies that ship overseas.

On the Portland pier, it’s business as usual. Lobster fishermen pull in their haul, the lobster is processed, then shipped off.  But, behind the scenes, Maine lobster companies that rely on global sales are facing a competitive disadvantage to our neighbors in Canada.

“Maine lobster is the sweetest of lobsters out there.  The Canadian lobster is a fine product but it’s typically a hard shell so it’s a little bit tougher, a little bit more briny.”  Luke Holden is proud of the Maine lobster, which has put his company Luke’s lobsters on the international map.  

When we caught up with him at the seafood  expo in Boston, his company was enjoying great success in Asia.  “It’s been a super successful market for us.  They’ve got, three of their six shacks have lines, each and every day.” 

Sea salt lobster company out of Saco also turned to the Asian market to help expand its customer base.  Shawn McEwen explains, “there’s still some mystery as far as that market is concerned but it’s definitely part of the puzzle when it comes to exporting for us.”

But those international exports could be in for some rough seas:  and  Canadian lobster fishermen stand ready to profit from it.

They could see an 8 percent price advantage for their lobster sales to European union countries.  The result of a trade agreement being brokered between Canada and Europe.
And that may require re-focusing for some companies; breaking into new markets here in the U.S.

“Huge market opportunities for our lobster and we haven’t been there and that domestic focus could prompt shippers to offer in-country deals, which, in the end, may mean good news for consumers who could wind up paying less for lobster as a result.”
 

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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