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News Feature

Originally published in Compass, June 14, 2012
Will more investment in lobster marketing help bring a better boat price?
Lobster industry input sought

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The Maine Lobster Advisory Council is holding four outreach sessions on a new marketing approach called “Project Maine Lobster: Build Global Demand,” including one in Ellsworth June 19 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Ellsworth High School. Other sessions are scheduled in Yarmouth, Rockland and Machias.

Frustrated by the lobster price paid to lobstermen at the dock, the Lobster Advisory Council formed a subcommittee this winter to focus on ways to better market Maine lobster, according to a release from the council. The subcommittee hired marketing consultant John Sauve to develop a realistic plan.

President of The Food and Wellness Group and former director of the Wild Blueberry Association of North America, Sauve will present the business and marketing approach “Project Maine Lobster: Build Global Demand.” The approach includes a $3-million target budget proposed to be funded by the lobster harvester, dealer and processor sectors. This proposal and budget target would be phased in over a three-year period and would address a number of marketing initiatives to strengthen the Maine Lobster brand and begin building more profitable demand for Maine Lobster in existing and new global markets.

“The objective is to adequately fund a strong generic marketing program for Maine Lobster and drive up demand and impact price to the benefit of the entire industry,” Sauve said. “Think about it not as an issue of over-supply, but rather an issue of under-demand. If you have 100 million pounds of lobster, you want to be 20 million short of the demand.

“The Maine Lobster industry needs more dedicated funds and a great plan for generic marketing. There is not nearly enough happening to boost global demand for Maine Lobster and truly help the lobstermen and everyone else in the industry.”

Project Maine Lobster proposes a game plan to address that challenge.

“Canada is setting the standard for what is considered a quality lobster,” added Bob Baines, chairman of the Lobster Advisory Council. “And they are doing that by investing more time and resources in marketing. Maine is playing catch-up.”

Members of the Maine Lobster industry are strongly encouraged to attend a meeting in order to make their thoughts about the proposed marketing plan clear. Department of Marine Resources staff will also be in attendance at all meetings to hear directly the response to this industry-led effort.

For more information, contact Bob Baines at 596-0177 or Annie Tselikis at 967-4555.