Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

Letter to the Honorable Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington DC

U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), Ranking Member of the Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, today urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to investigate the lobster dispute between Maine and Canadian lobstermen. Sen. Snowe called the situation "unacceptable" and asked Sec. Clinton to raise the issue with Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird, while also making the situation a priority within the United States' bilateral relations with the Government of Canada. The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, Canada, whose leadership has been in communication with members of Sen. Snowe's staff, today informed the Senator that the Embassy has conveyed the concerns of Sen. Snowe and the U.S. Government to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in New Brunswick.

In her letter, Senator Snowe wrote:

"Over the last week, some disgruntled Canadian lobstermen, in a misguided attempt to protest the low retail price of lobster, lodged a protest and blockaded several New Brunswick processors, which forced these processors to close down their facilities, and shipments containing tens of thousands of pounds of Maine lobsters were sent back to the state. In some circumstances, the product was damaged or destroyed. This is an unacceptable situation that must be rectified immediately.

"While I understand that the New Brunswick government is attempting to control these protests, it is clear that additional Canadian resources are necessary to maintain order and ensure continued commerce across the border. Any acts of intimidation, violence, or coercion cannot be tolerated and order must be maintained to ensure that our relationship with our Canadian partners does not undermine our long-term collaborative relationship on critical fisheries and maritime issues."

The full text of the letter follows:

August 8, 2012

The Honorable Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Clinton:

I am writing today to register my concerns about a situation in Canada that has become a serious problem for our trucking industry, has undermined our lobster shippers, and has the potential to economically devastate thousands of Maine's lobstermen.

This year in Maine, the lobster industry has encountered prices nearly 70 percent lower than average for this time of year. While this has occurred in part because of a strong harvest, it is has fundamentally been the result of an extraordinary shift in the molting season of lobsters, which has left the market with an abundance of soft-shell lobsters that cannot be easily transported contracting demand to either local markets or processing facilities.

For generations, Maine and Canada have been utilizing this resource and employing thousands of workers across both borders. Specifically, Maine soft-shell lobster have traditionally been shipped to Canadian processors, which take our lobsters and produce raw meat and frozen lobster products. There are only three lobster processors in Maine, but roughly two dozen such processors in New Brunswick, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia that employ thousands of Canadians. While there was hope that Maine and Canada would adjust to this year's unique molting timeline, recent events in New Brunswick, Canada, are alarming.

Over the last week, some disgruntled Canadian lobstermen, in a misguided attempt to protest the low retail price of lobster, lodged a protest and blockaded several New Brunswick processors, which forced these processors to close down their facilities, and shipments containing tens of thousands of pounds of Maine lobsters were sent back to the state. In some circumstances, the product was damaged or destroyed. This is an unacceptable situation that must be rectified immediately.

While I understand that the New Brunswick government is attempting to control these protests, it is clear that additional Canadian resources are necessary to maintain order and ensure continued commerce across the border. Any acts of intimidation, violence, or coercion cannot be tolerated and order must be maintained to ensure that our relationship with our Canadian partners does not undermine our long-term collaborative relationship on critical fisheries and maritime issues.

Therefore, I am asking you to investigate this situation, raise the issue with your respective counterpart, and make it a priority within our bilateral relations with the Government of Canada to ensure this situation is resolved expeditiously.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter, and I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Olympia J. Snowe
United States Senator


Source:
Skip to top
Back to top