From the Desk of the CEO: May 2024

As we navigate another productive year, I want to reflect on the crucial role that the seafood sector continues to play in the U.S. Northeast. Integral to our regional economy and cultural heritage, the industry’s resilience in the face of challenges—such as the unpredictable nature of wild-harvested seafood, the need for new markets for farmed shellfish, and the realities of a changing climate —is truly commendable. 

In 2023, our region’s seafood exports, including high-value products like American lobsters, scallops, monkfish, and dogfish, represented 16% of the U.S. total, with a substantial value of $760 million. This achievement highlights our significant role in the global market and underscores our dedication to sustaining this vital industry. 

Here’s How We’re Making a Difference: 

  • Expanding Global Reach: We’ve helped lobster exporters diversify and expand their international presence, ensuring that American lobsters reach appreciative global audiences. We’ve found markets for less well-known species such as monkfish and dogfish. 
  • Promoting Sustainable Practices: By connecting international buyers with local shellfish farmers, we advocate for responsible seafood farming, securing the future of our marine resources. 
  • Market Research: Our In-Market Representatives have played a pivotal role in introducing under-commercialized species to new markets, expanding our industry’s reach. 
  • Industry Advocacy and Partnerships: Our strategic collaborations with researchers, regulators, producer organizations, and our role on the USDA Animals and Animal Products Committee keep the seafood sector at the forefront of international trade and sustainability discussions. 

The impact of these initiatives is evident, notably through our Inbound Buyers Mission in 2023, which led to significant sales and new distributor relationships for multiple suppliers. Here are a couple of inspiring success stories: 

  • Luke’s Lobster from Saco, Maine, greatly expanded their international footprint after showcasing their products at Expo West, achieving substantial sales in Hong Kong. 
  • Bristol Seafood of Portland, Maine, leveraged our Branded Program to secure significant sales in Singapore, thanks to deepened buyer relationships and market insights. 

Looking ahead, we remain committed to supporting every member of the seafood industry—whether it’s navigating trade disruptions or fostering new partnerships. Your continued trust and collaboration are invaluable as we set the stage for a sustainable and prosperous future for American seafood. 

Thank you for being part of our journey. 

Brendan Wilson 

CEO/Executive Director 

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