From the Dock: The Maine Lobster Promotion Council

First published in the MLA Newsletter, September, 2011.

Emily Lane, vice-president of sales at Calendar Islands Maine Lobster, is chair of the Maine Lobster Promotion Council. Photo by Nancy Griffin.

There has been much discussion and even proposed legislation in the last several months regarding the restructuring and effectiveness of the Maine Lobster Promotion Council. The Council’s mission has been to provide professional support, guidance, and leadership to members of the Maine lobster industry in the areas of marketing, advertising, public relations and promotional efforts to develop long-term market value and economic stability for the industry. Recently the Council has come under fire for a perceived lack of effectiveness and market focus.

To address increasing dissatisfaction of industry with the Council, a Board meeting was held this spring to discuss the mission, governance and performance of the Council. Out of that meeting came a number of Board recommendations:

  • Continuance of a Board of nine (9) with a total of three (3) industry members, including at least one harvester. The Council stressed the importance of filling three seats currently vacant. Non-industry members to be selected based on promotional and marketing expertise and skill set. Include representation from tourism, food marketing, media, culinary and private business entities.
  • Review of geographic requirements for industry participation in an effort to secure the best candidates available to move the MLPC into a global market.
  • More outreach to the industry through monthly newsletter, attendance at zone meetings, communication with all levels of the industry.
  • Expansion of the web site with sale of ads and services to generate income.
  • Fewer activities, with more focused promotional value in events such as the Maine Lobster Pavilion at the Boston Seafood Show and the Asian Seafood Exposition.
  • Review effectiveness and efficiency of current staff while giving them more direction as to desired types of promotion.
  • Analyze viability of expanding promotional activities to all Maine seafood.

The Board, as well as the MLA, has submitted nomination recommendations for three empty Board positions to Maine’s Lobster Advisory Board for its review. The Web site is undergoing review and updates and remains a valuable educational tool. Lobster Tales, news of the lobster industry from the MLPC, is sent to all industry members on a monthly basis. Plans are underway to attend the Asian Seafood Exposition in Hong Kong early this fall, funded in total by the Branded Program through Food Export USA Northeast. A Maine Lobster Pavilion has been proposed for the 2012 International Boston Seafood Show with chef demos, a buyer’s reception and chef-of-the-year competition.

The Board welcomes industry attendance at its meetings and ongoing dialogue with all segments of the lobster industry.

Sincerly,

Emily Lane, Maine Lobster Promotion Council chair