Maine to challenge Canadian lobster dominance
THE US state of Maine has decided to challenge Canada’s historic and long held dominance of the North Atlantic lobster business.
The New England community will decide through a referendum in November whether to spend $7-million of public funds on its seafood and lobster processing sector.
Troy Jackson, A Democrat senator from Allagash, said he was supporting the referendum following a meeting with lobster industry workers. Industry officials said that the state requires processors to add value to the industry. He added: “You can’t have value added when all your processing is in Canada,. It’s a big part of our economy and a big part of what we do in our state.”
The industry certainly wants it with lobster processors and fishermen arguing that such a bond referendum would boost the industry and help keep revenue, taxes and jobs in the U.S. instead of Canada. The Canadian industry has a huge export market worth around $600 million a year.
The November referendum would dedicate $7 million in public money to Maine seafood and lobster processing. Maine lobstermen caught 126 million lbs in volume of lobster in last year with around 60 million lbs going to Canada for processing.
Now Maine, which has seen its lobster industry grow from almost nothing 25 years ago to a major business today, says it wants to compete on a more level basis. But it needs cash help to compete with its larger neighbour to the north.
Luke Holden, owner of Cape Seafood in Maine said: .”There’s a multiplying effect because if the product is produced in Maine, then it’s generating work and dollars and taxes.”