Maine bills aim to boost lobster industry
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Lawmakers are looking to boost Maine’s troubled lobster industry with proposals to pump more money into marketing the state’s signature seafood and give tax breaks to encourage more lobster processing.
The moves follow last year’s chaotic lobster fishing season that saw a market glut and a crash in wholesale prices.
One bill referred to the Marine Resources Committee calls for sharply increasing surcharges on lobster fishing and other lobster-related licenses over the coming three years, with the aim of raising about $3 million a year in promotional funding. This year’s marketing budget is about $380,000.
Lobsterman David Cousens, president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, thinks fisherman for the most part will grudgingly accept higher fees because they recognize the need to better promote lobster to get prices up.