November 14, 2017


China demand props up US lobster industry



China's growing market is giving a great boost to the US lobster industry, whose established base is the state of Maine.


"When you take flight from Boston to China, probably there are Maine lobsters in the cargo", Annie Tselikis, Maine Lobster Dealers' Association executive director told People's Daily. 


"Nowadays the market is not only in Beijing or Shanghai, but also expands to second-tier and third-tier cities", she added.


Tselikis said the US lobster industry has seen tremendous export growth to China in recent years. In 2010, China made up less than 1% of all US lobster exports. Six years later in 2016, the percentage jumped to 14%, a figure that involves 17 million pounds with a market value of US$136 million, according to data cited from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and US Department of Commerce.


Compared with lobsters from Australia or New Zealand, Maine lobster prices have made the market in China competitive as modern logistics have made it possible to ship lobsters to China from Maine within 30 hours. 


Maine began looking at Asian markets in 2008 when it was hit by a financial crisis.


In 2012, Maine witnessed a record-high lobster haul, and prices dropped to $2.69 per pound. This led the industry to turn to the global market including China.


Last year, Maine had another record-high harvest, and this time, , according to Tselikis, the price was stable enough to "keep all happy".

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