July 02, 2018
STONINGTON, ME – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) met members of the lobster industry and local community leaders in Stonington, which lands more lobsters and has more lobstermen than any other port in the state. In Stonington, Senator King highlighted the importance of the lobster industry to Maine’s economy and the new challenges facing the industry. Senator King met with employees and management of the family-owned Greenhead Lobster Company to discuss the impact of retaliatory tariffs on the lobster industry and current trade practices of the administration. Later in the day, he met with leaders of the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries, an organization aimed at protecting Maine’s fisheries, addressing the environmental threats facing the state’s key catches, and ensuring sustainable use of our natural resources.
“For thousands of Maine people, lobstering isn’t just a career – it’s a way of life,” said Senator King. “Lobsters are a billion-dollar business in Maine, and a major part of our state’s identity, but this iconic industry is facing serious challenges ranging from the effect of the administration’s misguided trade wars to the potential impacts of climate change on the fishery. Today allowed me to hear first-hand from members of our coastal communities who rely on this industry, and I will share their stories with my colleagues as I continue to push against any policy that threatens the livelihoods of Maine people.”
Often seen around the Capitol in one of his several lobster ties, Senator King has been a vocal advocate for the lobster industry throughout his time in the Senate. He has pushed back against proposals that would harm the continued growth and success of the business. Earlier this year, he strongly opposed a Department of Interior proposal that would open up the Gulf of Maine to offshore drilling, and last month he joined Maine’s Congressional delegation to invite the U.S. Trade Representative to Maine to facilitate a dialogue between the agency and Maine’s lobster dealers and processors. He has also sought be an ambassador for the lobster in any way possible; in February, following a push from Senator King, the Unicode Consortium announced that it would add a lobster emoji to the list of available characters. He has also cosponsored the resolution to designate September 25th as “National Lobster Day”, and in September 2017 he focused on the importance of the lobster industry in an episode of his podcast Inside Maine.
Senator King began his day with a tour of the Island Employee Cooperative (IEC), which operates two grocery stores – one in Stonington, one in Deer Isle – and a hardware store. He then ate lunch with Stonington Town Manager, Kathleen Billings-Pezaris and Deer Isle Town Manager, Jim Fisher.