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  • MLCA

In the News: March 2012

Canadian lobster industry gets to work Working groups set up by the Lobster Council of Canada began meeting in January. The goal of the groups is to explore the issues of quality grading, shore price setting, branding and promotion. Two working groups, made up of 40 people, met in January and will meet again in April. Representation on these working groups will include 16 harvesters, eight people from live shipping and eight from the processing side of the industry, as well as federal and provincial representatives and lobster brokers. During February and March, three smaller groups will meet. These groups of fifteen people will focus on specific aspects of the industry, such as product branding or minimum price systems. The working groups are the result of a 2011 report commissioned by the Lobster Council of Canada that provided a comprehensive examination of the Atlantic Canada lobster industry. The report concluded that the provinces’ lobster industry is disorganized and structured to under-perform. Although lobster harvesters and buyers can do little to affect  the world’s economy or currency exchange rates, the report indicated that the industry could improve its marketing system. The aim is for all groups to complete their work in April.

Maine lobster heads to Central America Maine Lobster, S.A., a company established in Panama by Maine residents Jack Mosher and John Brier, plans to export Maine lobster products to Panama and other parts of Latin America later this year, when a free-trade agreement removes tariffs on U.S. exports. Panama ratified the U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement in 2007, but Congress only ratified it in October. The company has secured a supply agreement with Atwood Lobster Company in Spruce Head, now owned by the Mazzetta Company of Chicago. Mosher and Brier consider Panama the gateway to Columbia, Costa Rica and Brazil. Panama's economy is among the fastest-growing in Latin America. It grew 6.2 percent in 2010 and is expected to expand with similar annual growth through 2015.

Ventless trap program vessels wanted The Department of Marine Resources, in cooperation with the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation, seeks three industry participants for the Regional Ventless Trap Program through a competitive bid process.  First initiated in 2006, this project will run during June, July and August 2012.  Interested parties will need to complete the application to identify vessel specifications, daily rate and preferred sampling leg.  Three of nine legs are open for bid, covering (1) Canadian border to Beals, (2) North Penobscot Bay and (3) Saco Bay to Isle of Shoals.  Each leg will have 75-100 small mesh traps randomly positioned at three depths.  Each month the traps will be baited and sampled 2 times, on 3 night sets, making a monthly 3 day commitment and total 9 contracted days. This is an opportunity to participate in a cooperative research project supported by industry and science from Maine through New York. Any questions or requests for applications, please contact Kathleen Reardon or Carl Wilson at (207) 633-9500.  More information can be found on the DMR website www.maine.gov/dmr.

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