November 26, 2013

Members of state’s new lobster board named

The group will work to brand and promote the Maine delicacy in an effort to grow demand and profits.

By Jessica Hall
Staff Writer

The Maine Department of Marine Resources has chosen a mix of branding experts, lobstermen, business owners and state officials for the board of directors of the new Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative.

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Maine lobstermen hauled a record 123 million pounds of the crustacean last year, up 18 percent from 2011, but the total wholesale value declined 1.1 percent, to $331 million.

Gordon Chibroski / Staff file photo

The appointees, announced Monday, will work to market and promote Maine lobster as part of an effort to increase demand and help Maine’s economy. Last year, Maine lobstermen hauled a record 123 million pounds of lobster, up 18 percent from 2011, but the total wholesale value dropped 1.1 percent, to $331 million.

“We sought out a board of leaders, innovators, marketing experts, harvesters, processors, dealers, small-business owners and people who are eager to re-energize the Maine Lobster brand,” Patrick Keliher, commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources, said in a written statement. “I am confident that they will be successful in setting an effective marketing course for the future and creating a new high level of excitement and demand for Maine Lobster.”

Formation of the marketing board is the first step in a five-year, multimillion-dollar investment that the industry has committed to marketing Maine’s largest fishery. The board replaces a smaller group known as the Maine Lobster Promotion Council, whose budget this past year was about $370,000.

The new marketing group’s annual budget will be larger and increase over three years to $2.2 million.

The group will be funded through increased license fees for fishermen and lobster dealers and processors.

The board will have 11 members, including Keliher, and one seat remains unfilled. Keliher, who led the selection process, will continue to review nominees for the remaining position.

Besides Keliher, the board includes:

n Karan Cushman, president of Cushman Creative, a branding company.

n George Gervais, commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.

n Frank Gotwals, a commercial lobsterman and a board member of the Stonington Lobster Co-op.

n Luke Holden, president and founder of Luke’s Lobster and a managing partner and co-founder of Cape Seafood LLC.

n Emily Lane, vice president of sales for Calendar Islands Maine Lobster Co. and a former Maine Lobster Promotion Council board member.

n Peter Miller, a commercial lobster harvester, owner of Miller’s Wharf Lobster and former Maine Lobster Promotion Council board member.

n Paul Paradis, a Bar Harbor town councilor who owns Paradis True Value in Bar Harbor.

n Hugh Reynolds, owner of Greenhead Lobster in Stonington, one of Maine’s largest purveyors of live lobster.

n Vaughn Stinson, chief executive officer of the Maine Tourism Association.

Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:jhall@pressherald.comTwitter: @JessicaHallPPH
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