The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative’s study that found restaurants charge over $6 more per plate for lobster from Maine (“Report: Diners shell out more when menu says the lobster’s from Maine,” May 4) is a ringing endorsement of the theory that diners value the sustainability and purity of our state’s signature product and the ethic of the men and women who provide it

Yet in order for the industry to capitalize on its well-deserved premium price, it must ensure that imposter lobsters are not masquerading as Mainers.

While Homarus americanus from southern New England or Canada may be biologically identical to those from our own waters, Maine lobstermen have a centuries-old history of stewardship and independence that makes their product a remarkable – and in this region, a rare – example of fisheries management done right.

From setting maximum size limits to protect the most prolific breeders, to pioneering the now ubiquitous practice of V-notching, to the state’s (albeit controversial) ban on selling trawl-caught lobsters in Maine ports, these sacrifices come with an economic cost. Now we have proof that the cost is offset with a clear financial benefit.

Fortunately, the Obama administration is in the process of finalizing a rule to enhance the traceability of seafood and ensure that consumers can more readily understand the provenance and pedigree of their fish – from the boat to their plates – and trust the labeling is honest.

Industry members, elected officials and other leaders in the state’s seafood industry should support the administration’s proposals. Their efficient and robust implementation will help ensure that the bonus revenues earned by the Maine brand stay with the lobstermen who deserve it.

Michael Conathan

director of ocean policy, Center for American Progress

South Portland

Comments are no longer available on this story