Governor addresses concerns of Maine lobstermen

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Fisheries news from south of the border

Maine Governor John E. Baldacci has expressed his concern about the impact of rapidly falling lobster prices on lobstermen, dealers and processors and Maine’s coastal communities. He has directed members of his administration to take measures that can alleviate credit and other issues that have significantly threatened the viability of this important industry to the state. "Prices have fallen below the level needed to maintain the economic viability of the Maine lobster industry, caused by reduced demand and the lack of short term business credit that are part of the global economic crisis," Governor Baldacci said. "Maine's hard-working lobster families and businesses have been jolted by the world economic situation. While most of these issues are beyond our control, there are a few things that can be done to help, and it’s critical that we take actions now to avert further harm to this vital industry."

Among immediate steps to alleviate the current financial situation of the industry, Governor Baldacci has directed the Department of Economic and Community Development, Department of Marine Resources, and the Finance Authority of Maine to meet with financial institutions and agencies to expedite measures to help families in tough financial straits. "This crisis involves thousands of families spread along the coast,” said the Governor. “We’re talking about the very life-blood of many small towns. I expect the group I’ve called together to think outside the box and provide lobster families and businesses with options to help with their tough financial positions.”

Governor Baldacci reiterated the importance of continuing efforts that have been underway to increase Maine lobster processing, sustainability, branding and certification. Such actions, he said, help build the already stellar reputation of Maine lobsters and the industry as a whole. “The Maine lobster brand is known the world over for its quality and high value,” Governor Baldacci said, “and we know that the lobster resource is sustainable thanks to the efforts of Maine lobstermen. Obtaining certification is an essential step in protecting and enhancing our brand and making sure that Maine lobsters can compete in markets around the world. Additionally, expanding processing of lobster here in Maine will help the industry greatly.”

Governor Baldacci is encouraging Mainers to participate in lobster specials being run at many seafood dealers. He praised the efforts of Hannaford Brothers, Shaw’s Supermarket, Weathervane Restaurants and many independent businesses to promote Maine lobster locally. “Buying locally harvested lobsters now is an important way that we can show support for Maine's lobster industry and families as they go through this very difficult period,” said the Governor. “Helping our neighbors is something Mainers are known for, almost as much as we are known for our lobsters.”

Organizations: Department of Economic, Department of Marine Resources, Finance Authority of Maine Hannaford Brothers

Geographic location: Maine

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