Pandemic Relief Flows to Maine’s Lobster Supply Chain

Lobstering may capture the imagination of authors and artists, but the act of hauling Maine’s signature crustacean is just one part of the state’s $1.5 billion trap-to-table industry – it takes a sprawling network of dealers, retailers and processors to get the annual harvest to market.

This behind-the-scenes supply chain landed an outsize amount of the industry’s share of federal pandemic relief. While lobstermen received $14.9 million in small Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, loans and at least $300,000 in large ones, it was spread out among almost 1,400 fishermen. On the supply chain side, 134 companies netted more than $9.1 million.

Dealers who buy a lobsterman’s haul for resale got 76 loans. Those included $2.6 million in small loans, averaging $40,699 each, and at least $2.5 million in large loans, including four of at least $350,000 each to Carver Shellfish in Beals, Maine Shellfish Co. in Ellsworth, Greenhead Lobster in Stonington and Maine Coast in York.

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