Maine Governor Promotes Lobster in Asia

Governor Paul R. LePage, DMR Policy Director Deirdre Gilbert and Senior Trade Specialist with the Maine International Trade Center are pictured during the recent trade mission to Asia.  
Governor Paul R. LePage, DMR Policy Director Deirdre Gilbert and Senior Trade Specialist with the Maine International Trade Center are pictured during the recent trade mission to Asia.

Maine Governor Paul R. LePage, Maine’s Division of Marine Resources Policy Director Deirdre Gilbert and Senior Trade Specialist with the Maine International Trade Center traveled to Tokyo and Shanghai in late October to provide an overview of Maine’s lobster industry management and conservation measures to dozens of chefs, buyers, government officials, and media in both cities.

“This mission was a success on many fronts,” said Governor LePage. “But I was especially pleased see how receptive people were in Tokyo and Shanghai to Deirdre’s presentation on the management and character of Maine’s lobster fishery. I believe this will help our dealers continue to grow markets in China and Japan for Maine lobster in all its forms.”

Gilbert’s presentations in each city preceded a reception in which hundreds of attendees had a chance to sample Maine lobster prepared by local chefs.

The mission, hosted by the Maine International Trade Center, included several Maine lobster dealers who had a chance to network with prospective buyers and importers.

Several Maine dealers participating in the trade mission expressed appreciation for Gilbert’s presentation. “I was told that a lot of buyers didn’t necessarily understand the fishery before the presentation,” said Gilbert. “The dealers valued the chance to educate their buyers about the many attributes that make Maine lobsters unique.”

“People in both cities wanted to understand Maine’s conservation measures,” said Gilbert. “I believe they came away with a strong appreciation both for Maine’s conservation laws and industry’s longstanding commitment to sustainable harvesting practices.”

Gilbert’s presentation included a brief geography lesson with an overview of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and a description of the remote coastal communities and the harvesters who live and work there. She also highlighted the conservation laws and monitoring work that underpin Maine’s abundant lobster resource.

“I believe they appreciated the fact that Maine lobster fishermen are small-scale operators and the license holder is doing the actual fishing,” said Gilbert.