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March 26, 2018

China lobster consumption continues to grow

Courtesy / Tom Thai, Flickr
Courtesy / Tom Thai, Flickr
Although Maine's lobster landings in 2017 were the sixth highest on record at 110.8 million pounds, that tally represents a 16% decline from 2016's 132.5 million landings total. Value also dropped from an average $4.08 per pound in 2016 to $3.91 a pound; for an overall value of $433.8 million for the state's lobster fishery. China continues to be a major market for Maine lobsters, with The Financial Post reporting Chinese overall lobster imports from the U.S. totaled more than 17.8 million pounds, up from 14 million in 2016.

China imported more than 17.8 million pounds of lobster from the U.S. in 2017, eclipsing the previous record of about 14 million pounds in 2016.

The Financial Post reported the value of the imports also surged, from $108.3 million in 2016 to $142.4 million last year, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

China has targeted dozens of U.S. products for new tariffs, but lobsters aren't on the list.

More exports to Asia coupled with smaller catches could keep those prices up, Bill Bruns, operations manager with Lobster Company of Arundel,, a lobster exporter, told the Post. Maine's lobster landings dropped 16% in 2017, from 2016's 132.5 million pounds to 110.8 million pounds.

The volume of lobsters that China is taking from the U.S. shows interest is at an all-time high, John Sackton, a market analyst who publishes the SeafoodNews.com website, told the Post.

That growth is tied to China's expanding middle class.

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