August 11, 2012

Some good news: Maine lobster returns to Canada

Meanwhile, LePage's administration meets with lobster processors to discuss long-term solutions to the oversupply.

By Eric Russell erussell@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

and Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Robert F. Bukaty/The Associated Press Maine lobstermen take a break while doing maintenance work in Portland on Thursday. More than half of all lobsters caught in Maine goes to Canada for processing, but in a meeting Friday state officials began talking about increasing processing capacity in Maine.

AP

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John Hathaway, president of Shucks Maine Lobster, said, "(Maine’s lobster industry is hurt by) a foolish business model. ... What we need to do is add value and jobs here.”

Joe Phelan / Staff Photographer

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"That's what I would call a foolish business model," Hathaway said. "What we need to do is add value and jobs here."

LePage declined to speak to reporters after the meeting. But in his weekly radio address Saturday, he will say the Canadian situation "is all about money."

The governor, who on Friday lifted the customary embargo on his weekly address, plans to highlight Maine's dependence on Canadian processors, which take as much as 70 percent of the state's catch.

"Processors are paying only a fraction of the true cost due to the abundance of lobster and lack of processing capacity here in Maine," the address reads.

The state has three major processors. LePage says there aren't more because of the state's "high cost of doing business," caused by its high energy prices and environmental regulations.

"Getting our lobsters delivered and processed in Canada helps in the short-term, but Maine needs a permanent solution," the address says.

"We need more processing capacity. After all, the Maine lobster is world renown. We must be in a position to add value to our product instead of Canada gaining all the added value."

Keliher reported that the 10-day injunction on protests in Canada appeared to be working. He said he hopes tension will subside as New Brunswick fishermen resume fishing next week.

Keliher said the injunction came just in time. Another two days, he said, and the Maine catch could have been sitting on docks to rot.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Staff Writer Eric Russell can be contacted at 791- 6344 or at:

erussell@mainetoday.com

 

Staff Writer Steve Mistler can be contacted at 791- 6345 or at:

smistler@mainetoday.com

 

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Said Patrick Keliher of the Department of Marine Resources: “I want to stress that this is just the beginning of a fact-finding mission.”

Joe Phelan / Staff Photographer

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Linda Bean, owner of Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine LLC, said “I’m not a protectionist, but we need protection or else we won’t be able to sell in volume.”

Joe Phelan / Staff Photographer

 


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