Lobster on the line: China loves Maine lobster, but Trump’s trade war means Canada is filling the demand

A gold and pink glow creeps over the horizon as Mandy Perry sets sail on her 43-foot boat. In the hours ahead, she and her two-man crew will tend to dozens of wooden lobster traps, plucking out the day’s flailing haul in an instinctive, fluid motion before restocking the traps with frozen mackerel and red fish and sending them back out to sea.

“When fishing does good, everybody else in the community does good,” said Perry, 30, one of a handful of female captains in these waters.

It’s here, off the coast of its smallest province, where Canada has emerged the surprise winner of a protracted trade war between the United States and China. Beijing’s tariffs on American lobster have gutted exports of the quintessential Maine delicacy, stripping the industry of its Chinese customers without any assurance they will return — and positioning Canada to fill the growing demand, perhaps permanently.

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