Did Obama Destroy Maine’s Lobster Industry?
On June 25, 2020, US President Donald Trump posted two tweets announcing the reforms he brought in for Maine’s lobster industry. Along with informing about releasing 5000 square miles of the Maine ocean coast for lobster and fishing industries, he also claimed that President Obama destroyed them for Maine during his tenure in the White House.
Amidst the ongoing Trade war between the US and China, the latter placed 35% markup on lobster which hit Maine’s industry hard along with other farmers in the Midwest. Maine lost a majority of its business to Canada due to these new tariffs in place.
While President Trump’s tweet blamed Obama for the crippling of Maine’s large lobster industry, facts convey otherwise. Maine’s lobster industry has been steadily growing since the 1980s and 2013 was their biggest year for revenues and even that was surpassed in the year 2016 which became a record-breaking year for the industry generating $538 million worth haul.
While Obama cannot be given any credit for the lobster catch during his presidency, the industry did pretty well during his administration. Although his reform of banning commercial fishing at the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument to protect the marine life was a controversial move, statistics show that this reform had little impact on fishing and lobster industries. Fact checks by pundits confirmed the same.
Several factors contribute to the declining catch in recent years and neither Trump nor Obama should be blamed for that as the process depends on a wide variety of factors like climate change, harvest, and even the recent pandemic. Chinese tariffs increased from 25% to 35% this year, which affected one of Maine’s largest industries who continue to lose its business to the Canadian farmers.