Guest Column: MLMC Highlighting lobster fishery conservation actions

Marianne Lacroix
Marianne Lacroix is the executive director of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative.

The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative (MLMC) has an important mission: to create awareness of and demand for Maine lobster. We do this through a variety of activities such as producing content and videos showcasing the industry’s history of conservation, working with media on lobster-related stories, and hosting food industry events like “Maine after Midnight,’’ which create publicity and inspire chefs.

We are also dedicated to protecting the reputation of the entire Maine lobster industry, in ways that are not always as visible as the Collaborative’s marketing initiatives. Recently, we have been paying close attention to the new measures under development to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales. Our goal is to communicate to our key audiences that the Maine lobster brand is inextricably linked to sustainability and conservation, values that are at the core of its identity.

As the new regulations are deliberated, MLMC will work to emphasize to the public that Maine lobstermen have long been stewards of the marine environment and support measures to protect right whales. The MLMC is committed to maintaining the health and sustainability of the fishery and our coastal communities while co-existing with all other marine life and supporting efforts that will genuinely protect the right whales.

Weber Shandwick, MLMC’s public relations firm, has deep experience in issues and crisis management. Their experts, along with our core marketing team, have been providing support on the right whale issue, helping to develop materials and educate key audiences so stories are balanced and include the Maine lobster fishery’s perspective. We will seek to highlight existing right whale protections and encourage the media and others to take a critical look at the issue.

In partnership with the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, Maine Department of Marine Resources and the Maine Lobster Dealers Association, we developed a comprehensive communications plan to maintain the reputation of the Maine lobster industry throughout the supply chain and with our end users. These industry groups met to share information and refine our communications strategy and will continue to work together.

As the process for devising new whale regulations moves forward, the MLMC will continue to focus on this issue with other industry leaders. We encourage anyone who receives questions about whale regulations and their potential impact on the fishery to consider all audiences that will read or hear their remarks. The MLMC is always available as a resource on communications issues. We will continue to work tirelessly to maintain the strong reputation of the Maine lobster industry.