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Updated: December 18, 2019

CEI to explore umbrella organization for marketing all Maine seafood

File photo / Laurie Schreiber Coastal Enterprises Inc. received a $25,000 grant from Maine Technology Institute to study the viability of an umbrella seafood marketing initiative for all of Maine’s seafood, including lobster, the state’s most valuable fishery.

Coastal Enterprises Inc. has received a grant to explore development of an umbrella organization that would market Maine's entire seafood catch.

The $25,000 award from the Maine Technology Institute will go toward research studying the viability of a Maine seafood marketing initiative, according to a news release.

Maine is one of the nation’s top three seafood-producing states, with over $637 million of product landed in 2018. But unlike other coastal New England states, Maine has no single marketing entity to promote all of its seafood species domestically. 

“Although lobster dominates in terms of value, Maine is increasingly diversifying and scaling up its production of other species such as oysters, mussels, scallops and salmon,” CEI’s Nick Branchina, principal for the project, said in the release.

“Many value-added wild seafood producers and sellers are looking to expand their national sales networks and are seeking markets beyond the Portland to New York City corridor. Having one Maine brand for the universe of seafood will help them succeed.”

CEI will survey Maine’s seafood producers, conduct national market research about Maine’s landed and value-added species, and work with partners to design a national market development plan that includes key trade shows and business-to-business activities for Maine companies. 

“CEI has a long history of working with Maine’s seafood and aquaculture industries,” Keith Bisson, CEI’s president, said in the release. “We have watched the successful market development activities of groups such as the Alaskan Seafood Marketing Institute and Norwegian Seafood Council and are excited to pilot the Maine seafood marketing initiative.”

The initiative aims to stimulate market development by shaping a brand identity. CEI will work with experts to explore target markets with the intent of introducing buyers to Maine products, while expanding awareness in untapped domestic markets that can support existing fisheries, help stabilize working waterfronts and stimulate fisheries diversity. Designed to support expansion of all Maine’s varied seafood species and items — wild-catch, farm-raised or value-added — to domestic markets outside of the New England region, this project intends to grow national interest in “seafood from Maine.”

Janine Bisaillon-Cary, president of the Montserrat Group based in Portland, will serve as consultant to the project.

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