BOSTON (NEWS CENTER Maine) — Dozens of Maine lobster fishermen and lobster dealers spent Monday in Boston, promoting their product to the world. They all traveled to the Seafood Expo North America, better known as the Boston Seafood Show.
Several dealers said the Boston event is the biggest seafood show in the world.
A quick look around at the vast exhibit hall shows what Maine's industry faces. Signs and booths promoted seafood from Iceland, Scotland, Chile, Argentina, Japan and many other countries, as well as the United States.
Fisherman Bob Ingalls said that is the real lesson for Maine lobstermen who attend the show.
"It’s impressive to see how much seafood is marketed all over the world and how small a share Maine has," he said.
Maine has expanded lobster marketing over the past three to four years, but people in the business say Maine's budget is still far less than the marketing budget for many other seafood products.
Tom Adams, owner of Maine Coast, a lobster dealer based in York, said companies like his also have to provide a significant part of the marketing effort.
"As companies like mine are expanding marketing around the world, it behooves us to continue to do so. That, and continue to build on the brand Maine lobster, Maine product."
Some fishermen said the whole industry needs a more substantial marketing effort.
"I think we can take a bigger place in the world market than we are now. I don't know exactly how but we should be able to," said Phippsburg fisherman Peter Roberts.
However, the world market competition can be fierce. One year ago at the Seafood Show it was announced that Canada had made a deal with Europe to eliminate the tariff on Canadian lobster to the EU.
There is still a tariff on Maine lobster and other U.S. seafood.
Dealer Tom Adams said he and many others had lost business as a result. One more way, industry members said, that the global seafood economy can ripple through even the smallest fishing harbors.