The promotion of Maine lobster got a $2 million-a-year boost from a law establishing a new marketing effort for the fishery.
Gov. Paul LePage has signed off on L.D. 486, a long-debated legislative proposal creating the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative to replace the Lobster Promotion Council.
Earlier this spring, the legislation had generated sometimes bitter debate across the industry, from lobstermen to dealers and processors, because those groups will be footing the bill for the planned global marketing campaign.
Just how to divvy up the $2 million annual budget proved to be more complicated than many in state government expected.
Through surcharges that vary depending on the type of license a lobster harvester, dealer or processor holds, the marketing collaborative will fund promotional efforts to brand Maine lobster and demonstrate its culinary versatility, particularly in areas of the world that might increase consumption.
The law increases the council's budget from $350,000 to $2 million, but even the higher figure represents a mere 1 percent of the industry's yearly sales, said Emily Lane, chairwoman of the Lobster Promotion Council, the precursor to the collaborative.
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