Thursday, November 6, 2008

Supporting Maine's lobster industry

Maine's traditional industries have been buffeted by various forces of late. The fuel price spike this summer was one of the issues many faced. The economic downturn has also been wreaking havoc.

There may not be a more iconic traditional industry in Maine than its lobster industry. Anyone who has spent time traveling Maine's coastline will attest to that.

Like much of rural Maine, the old ways are changing, and not always for the best.

Back in early October, the bottom fell out of the lobster market, as prices plunged from an already ridiculously low boat price of $2.60/lb (in Port Clyde), to $2.25/lb. At one point in October, the price hit rock bottom, at $1.75/lb, in Friendship. One doesn't need to be an economist to know that with all the other price pressures lobsterman were facing, that this was not a positive development. These prices were the lowest they had been since just after the attacks of 9/11. For more on this issue, you can read Sandra Dinsmore's article in The Working Waterfront.

One Maine business has recognized the plight of Maine's lobster industry and is taking steps to promote one of Maine's best-known products.

From a news release issued by the Harraseeket Inn:

Greetings from the Harraseeket Inn,

In our effort to help put extra money into our lobstermen’s pockets, we are going to do our part by buying and selling as many lobsters as we possibly can. We’ll be doing this a number of ways. For the month of November, we will be including halved lobsters on our Sunday Brunch Buffet at the same price as our regular buffet. Our Chef de Cuisine, Gallitt Sammon, has prepared a 5 course nightly lobster tasting menu in our Maine Dining Room. We will also be running nightly specials in our Broad Arrow Tavern. With the help of our friends over at Potts Harbor lobster, we’re going to be offering live or cooked lobsters to all of our guests to take home at a reasonable price. We’re also creating a special overnight “Lobster Lovers” package plan to include all of the above. We think it’s important that everyone think of ways to help such a vital part of Maine’s economy and identity.

There is a lobster brunch is this Sunday, so we hope to see you there!

Thank you,

The Gray Family

For more information, contact the Harraseeket Inn 162 Main Street, Freeport, Maine 04032, 800-342-6423 or 207-865-9377


Carl Natale said...

I don't understand how this helps the lobster industry that much. It's marketing for the Harraseeket.

I understand supply and demand. If they sell more lobsters then that can have an effect on price. But it's a trickle down effect that will take time and gets distributed along the supply chain.

If the Harraseeket wants to put more money in lobstermen's pockets, why don't they deal directly with them and pay a "save the industry" premium?

Maybe they already are doing it but it's not apparent in this post.

bizdirector said...

It might be mostly symbolic, but symbolism certainly doesn't hurt. Maybe other restaurants and other hospitality-related businesses will follow suit.

Since I was working from a press release that the Harraseeket issued, I passed along the information that the release provided.

I've found the owners to be committed business people, who care about the state beyond just turning a profit. If they can help market their own business, and provide any kind of support to other local business people, I think that's a winning combo.

I'd be curious to hear from anyone directly connected to the industry for their take on this.