US lobster processor picks up a new partner

Maine Fair PlantMaine Fair Trade Lobster and the Forum Capital Group from Jacksonville, Fla., have come together in a new partnership which could more than double the former’s production in 2015.

Consisting of Garbo Lobster, East Coast Seafood and now Forum Capital, Maine Fair Trade Lobster anticipates that its productions could jump from 4.3 million pounds in 2013 to nearly 9 million pounds this year. New partner Forum Capital will have the capacity to add products, enhance logistics and increase efficiencies according to Maine Fair Trade Lobster and The Ellsworth American

This latest partnership fits into Maine Fair Trade Lobster’s overall plan to increase its presence in the industry and flesh out its workforce from 150 employees to 225.

“The right investments in technology and infrastructure will fast forward efficiencies throughout the industry and allow proactive use of valuable industry resources,” said Mike Tourkistas, CEO and president of East Coast Seafood of Topsfield, Mass. to The Ellsworth American.

“A key component of our plan includes strengthening the companies’ existing vertical network, allowing for maximum use of the product with little or no waste,” added Dave Garbo, president of Garbo Lobster of Groton, Conn. to The American.

Maine Fair Trade employees were able to process 7.5 million pounds in 2014, according to spokesman Christina Ferranti-Clift. According to Bill Darling, plant manager at Maine Fair Trade, East Coast Seafood – a subsidiary of American Holdco Inc. – and Garbo have a joint purchasing power of 30 million pounds of lobster, he said during a presentation on 14 September before the Gouldsboro Historical Society.

Some of the key clients for Maine Fair Trade’s products include Legal Seafoods and Costco; Darling said that the Maine Fair Trade is looking to enter the Chinese market soon as well, reported The Ellsworth American.

The processing site for Maine Fair Trade Lobster is located in Prospect Harbor, in what used to be a sardine cannery. After the plant was purchased and sold by companies such as Bumble Bee Foods and Live Lobster Co., East Coast Seafood and Garbo Lobster purchased it in an action for USD 900,000 (EUR 797,298) in 2012, beginning their processing activities the next year.