Lobster Experts Disagree With Sen. King’s Scare Tactics

7/12/18, Maine First Media Staff Report,

Democrat-in-Disguise, Sen. Angus King is trying to exploit Maine’s vaunted lobster industry as a vehicle to attack President Donald Trump.

Sen. King was in Stonington last week spreading fears about President Trump’s tariffs against China.

Along with manipulating their currency to give them an unfair advantage, China already puts tariffs on American goods. For example, China has had a long-standing 10-15% tariff on American lobsters.  As one part of his negotiation tactics to get a better trade deal for Americans, President Trump has placed a 25% tariff on Chinese good.

China has responded by adding 25% to the seafood tariff.

As a scare tactic and a flagrant attempt to attack President Trump, Sen. King spreading the notion the lobster industry could lose 15%-20%% because of the Chinese tariffs.

However, lobster industry experts Maine First Media spoke to disagree.

Kerin Resch, President of Eastern Traders, a lobster processing company — and husband of Maine-first Rep. Paula Sutton (R-Warren) — says King is oversimplifying.

“The way that I see all of this is a bit complex,” Resch said. “First off, folks that eat lobster in China will continue to do so in spite of the tariffs. They are, for the most part, rather affluent in their homeland and this tariff will not deter most.”
According to Resch, they types of lobsters found in Maine waters also mitigates the impact of the Chinese tariffs.
“Most lobsters from Maine are soft-shelled,” Resch explained.  “The vast majority cannot make the trip (to China) especially in July and August. Most U.S. shippers send old-shell lobster and lobster from Canada. So, if you look at the whole picture less than 10% of our trade is impacted, and a portion of that 10% is Canadian in origin.
Resch believes the Maine lobster industry will feel a pinch from the trade conflict between President Trump and China but doesn’t buy the doom and gloom Sen. King is selling.
“I feel that there will be some effect,” Resch said. “But the sky is not falling, as some predict.”
Long Cove Lobster Owner, Sean Carlson agrees with Resch. In a video he posted to Twitter for Maine First Media, Carlson says he believes the realities of the tariffs won’t match the hype. And he has faith in the President’s long-term plan (talk about the tariff begins around the 8:10 mark, it is worthwhile to watch the full nearly nine-minute video to get a great glimpse at lobstering in action — the video does contain some strong language).
“You have to be tough,” Carlson said. “(President) Trump wants no tariffs. But if everyone else is going to keep screwing us, I guess you have to do it back. Eventually, if we can be tough enough — and not care about our sissy little feeling for a little while — you’ll make up the money in the end that you lost now.”

Sen. King also blamed President Trump for Canada having a trade advantage with the European Union. Resch says that problem started long ago.
“As far as the EU is concerned, the deal to drop tariff’s was negotiated between Canada and the EU eight to nine years ago,” Resch explained. “We in the U.S. were asleep at the wheel and will now pay the price, so to say.”
According to Resch, there are other factors Sen. King isn’t talking about having a much more significant impact on the lobster industry.
“As far as the price paid to fisherman going ahead this year the big whammy has nothing to do with China or the E.U.,” Resch said. “But rather, a hyper-inflated price structure over the last two years.”
Maine has three markets for lobster: Live trade, processed for food service and processed for manufacturing. Resch believes a portion of the live trade will be impacted by tariffs, but the real problem is the price structure.
“The bulk users of processed have been subjected to record prices as well as record landings,” Resch said. “This spells a correction in a big way. Lobster meat today is selling rather slowly at 30% less than 12-Months ago — as many in food service sought replacement sources of protein; crab, shrimp, etc. So, it is a simplistic view that King Angus is pursuing in relation to lobster.”
And other lobstermen Fox 22 out of Bangor spoke with also side with Resch and Carlson. In fact, in a story that was very kind to King, Fox 22 was unable to find lobstermen willing to attack the President.
These lobstermen told Fox 22 things like:
  • “Trump knows how to play ball, leave him alone,”
  • “I think they’ll (the Chinese) have lobster no matter what,”
  • “Maine lobster is a strong enough brand to survive.”
Meanwhile, Sen. King’s opponent in the 2018 Midterms, Sen. Eric Brakey believes this is all show from the Democrat-in-Disguise. Sen. Brakey brings up King’s poor track record of doing what’s right for the lobster industry — dating back to King’s time as governor.
“If Sen. King truly cared about the livelihoods of Maine lobstermen, he would care about the immediate danger many fear will devastate local lobster populations: Offshore windmills,” Sen. Brakey said. “But Angus made his fortune pushing taxpayer-subsidized windmills in Maine, so he would rather us focus on the far away issue of tariffs in China — not the immediate danger right off our coasts. If we want to help our Maine lobstermen, we need new leadership to fight for Maine, not for the special interests.”
Sen. King tossed out a line of attack against President Trump, but it doesn’t appear the fish are biting.