PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- One Portland lobster wholesaler is hoping cruise ship season will make a big difference in his bottom line.
Monday, Ready Seafood packed up 3,800 pounds of fresh lobster for the Celebrity Summit cruise ship, which stopped in Portland. The ship has 2,038 passengers and 999 crew.
Ready Seafood co-owner John Ready says he has been trying to crack the cruise ship market for 3 years. He's hoping this shipment is the first in a new market for fresh Maine lobster.
This all came about because of the crisis in Maine's lobster industry earlier this summer. Lobstermen were getting rock bottom prices for their catch, and wholesalers like Ready's couldn't get rid of their oversupply. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree wrote to the CEOs of all the cruise ship companies that are visiting Portland this fall, asking them to buy fresh lobsters when they come to port. Celebrity Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines each agreed to buy.
Ready says these deals won't alone save this season, but they're a good start towards a more secure future. He said, "I think we have plenty of time this fall to reap the benefits of these cruise ships, but I think in the big picture, this is the answer, this is a new market segment. These cruise lines take a tremendous amount of product. I don't want to be in that situation next year and this is a first step to that solution."