Fresh lobster led Maine exports for growth in 2014

Surging lobster prices last year helped turn around two years of decline for the total value of Maine’s exports, which rose about 3.4 percent despite decreases in the value of wood product shipments abroad.

Wood products, including paper, still made up a larger share of Maine exports than all fresh and frozen seafood products, but the value of seafood exports has tripled, increasing steadily since 2009. Wood product exports have jogged up and down in recent years, dropping sharply in 2014.

Those movements drew the two major industries to the closest export value in two decades, as wood product exports fell 14 percent, to $690.8 million, while Maine’s seafood exports grew 22 percent, to $472.8 million.

“Things change according to exchange rates and according to markets, and China slowing down a bit last year really put a slowdown on both the paper and the pulp markets,” said Janine Bisaillon-Cary, president of the Maine International Trade Center.

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