The Press Herald’s recent article on the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (“Pacific trade deal has potential to hurt, help Maine industries,” Oct. 5) paints an unrealistically rosy picture of the TPP’s impact on lobstermen. The article highlights lobster export opportunities but ignores the steadily rising tide of imports.

Like workers in Maine’s New Balance factories, lobstermen also face import competition that could make an often-precarious industry a little more vulnerable.

We already import more lobster than we export, and the TPP will likely increase the flow of imported lobster.

In 2014, the United States exported 75 million pounds of lobster to TPP nations, but imported more than 117 million pounds from these trading partners.

These imports can lower the price lobstermen receive and make it harder to make a living. This is not a theoretical problem.

In 2010, the federal government certified that more than 2,400 Maine lobstermen were economically damaged by imports under prior trade deals.


The TPP has an added twist: It includes Vietnam and Malaysia – major fish farming nations.

Fish farmers who raise lobster in overcrowded and dirty ponds often resort to antibiotics and fungicides that are illegal in the United States to combat disease.

The increased volume of lower-quality lobster can turn people away from all lobster when problems are found, as has happened with tainted shrimp and catfish imports in the past.

The TPP poses far greater risks than opportunities for both lobstermen and consumers.

This year, Maine’s entire congressional delegation voted to reject the Fast Track legislation that paved the way for TPP because of the negative impact the deal would have on Maine’s economy, environment and citizens.

We are counting on them to stand up for us again next year and vote against the TPP.

Nisha Swinton

Food & Water Watch


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