Seafood was Maine’s leading export in 2014, with its total value of $456.67 million topping the No. 2 export commodity of paper and pulp products by almost $100 million. And the biggest driver of seafood’s rise to the top of the state’s export commodity chart, says Jeffrey Bennett of the Maine International Trade Center, is that tasty two-clawed crustacean harvested by hundreds of independent fishermen in the Gulf of Maine, the Maine lobster.
Lobster accounts for almost $366 million of those exports and its overall total export value increased by a whopping 45.4% between 2013 and 2014 among the 25 countries buying Maine lobsters, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau’s foreign trade division.
“That’s pretty significant for the industry,” says Bennett, MITC’s senior trade specialist who was part of a Maine delegation touting the state’s iconic lobster and other seafood products at the world’s largest seafood show in Brussels in late April. “We’ve seen huge growth in Asia.”