US lobster sales tanking

By Don Ehrlich :: September 13, 2019

Though announcements made this week by China have given some seafood exporters a reprieve on fish meal and prawn seedlings the lobster industry continues to face difficulties in the export market. After the August rise of tariffs on US lobster imports from 25% to 35% saw sales drop more than 46%. Canadian producers are having a banner year making up the difference. Ten percent may not seem like much with the steep tariffs involved but any market loss is highly problematic for US lobster exporters.

The tit-for-tat nature of the tariffs have not only impacted the nations as a whole, but states like Maine, which depend on individual markets like lobster for $1.4 billion in revenue are being hit daily by these escalations. The Press Herald described the situation, “The Maine lobster industry, which pumps an estimated $1.4 billion into the state economy each year, also is sending a clear message to the U.S. food industry: this is the time for U.S. supermarkets, hotels and distributors to buy American,” Annie Tselikis, Executive Director of the Maine Lobster Dealers Association said. “And not just lobster,” she added, “but seafood generally.”

The US has supplied only 2.2 million pounds of lobsters this season though last season, in the same time frame more than 12 million pounds were exported. Canadian exporters have sent more than 33 million pounds in 2019 which is almost as much as the whole export of lobsters in 2018. The demand is not going anywhere as Chinese consumers continue to buy and eat lobsters as a main part of their diet, but the US isn’t getting as much of the trade thanks to tariffs.

If you want to know more about how these tariffs can impact your cargo, live lobster or otherwise, please reach out to your CFI representative to determine the best shipping plan and logistics solutions for your cool chain.