Mainers know that few people need encouragement to eat Maine lobster. But those in the industry know that the market has to expand beyond an occasional half-dozen lobsters bought to impress weekend guests. The job of driving demand for the crustaceans – and, it’s hoped, firming up prices – now falls to Matt Jacobson, who was named executive director of Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative this week.
The collaborative was formed last year after a huge catch depressed prices. It is funded by surcharges on licenses for harvesters, processors and dealers and is aimed at creating a unified marketing effort and opening new markets for lobster. Jacobson is perhaps best known from his five years as president and chief executive officer of Maine & Company, a nonprofit that worked to encourage companies to locate or expand in Maine. He also ran for governor in 2010. Jacobson takes over the collaborative next month.
Q: What led to you to take the collaborative’s top job?
A: I had an opportunity to be a stay-at-home dad for a while, and I was sort of looking for things that interested me. I’ve always been about how to make to make things better, so I was looking for a job where I could make a difference. And, I don’t think there’s anything more iconic than Maine lobster, so this sounded like a lot of fun and something that could help out here at home.
Q: I imagine you heard about Maine lobster a lot while at Maine & Company.
A: The work ethic of the lobstermen and the view of lobster boats heading off, I’ve been touting that for a long time, so it didn’t seem like a big stretch. That was attractive to me.
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