By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,211)
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree visited Ready Seafood on the Portland waterfront this morning as two dozen workers sorted and packed lobster to be delivered to the cruise ship Celebrity Summit. The ship carrying more than 2,000 passengers arrived at the Ocean Gateway megaberth early this morning and was due to leave late this afternoon – but not before taking on the first shipment of what will eventually be 3,800 lbs. of lobster during several visits to Maine this fall.
The lobster order was in response to a letter written by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D), last month to every company yead of every company that owns a cruise ship visiting Portland this year. The letter urges cruise ship companies to buy Maine lobster for their passengers while in port. Due to a glut of lobsters on the market because of too many soft shells, the price of lobsters for lobstermen have been at a very low price – as low as $2.00 per lb. in most locations. In her August 13th letter, Pingree pointed out that the cruise ship industry has not typically taken advantage of local lobster supplies in Portland and these prices were a good opportunity to do that.
“I hope the shipment this morning is just the beginning of a long and productive relationship between the cruise ship industry and Maine lobstermen,” Pingree said. “So far we’ve seen orders for about 9,000 lbs. of local lobster and I think the market is much bigger than that.”
John Ready, co-owner of Ready Seafood, said Pingree’s efforts are creating a good opportunity for the Maine lobster industry. We’ve been trying for three years to get our foot in the door with the cruise ship industry. We really appreciate Congresswoman Pingree stepping up and making this happen,” Ready said.
Furthermore, Norwegian Cruise Lines has indicated to Pingree that they plan to buy over 5,000 lbs. of Maine lobster in conjunction with visits by the Norwegian Dawn to Maine.
For more background information, please visit Post #1,201, dated 8/22/12 herein.