Maine Lobster Industry Has Yet to Feel Full Impact of China Tariffs

Bob Baines does not believe new foreign tariffs will have an immediate impact on the Maine lobster industry.

“The state is catching mostly new-shell lobsters that don’t ship well to China or the EU yet,” he said, plucking a few twisting lobsters from his haul to display the small number mature enough for an overseas voyage.

That won’t last, Baines said, and harder shells will come with more difficult trade barriers.

Moving quickly around the deck of his lobster boat Thrasher, Baines unloaded flat crates of live catch onto a dock adjacent to the Spruce Head Fisherman’s Co-Op, where he serves as president of the South Thomaston nonprofit that brokers sales for more than 40 dues-paying members.

Tariffs will undoubtedly affect prices as fall approaches, Baines concluded, and the lobster dealers he has spoken to are not happy.

“The international market is very important to the Maine lobster industry, and any loss in market means a lower price to the lobstermen, which directly affects our profit,” he said.

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