WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jack Reed today joined a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators from New England in introducing a resolution to designate Tuesday, September 25 as “National Lobster Day” in honor of lobsters’ economic, historic, cultural, and culinary contributions to Rhode Island and the nation.

The resolution, which is being led by Maine’s U.S. Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Susan Collins (R-ME), invites lobster lovers to mark their culinary calendars for the last Tuesday in September to enjoy one of New England’s most iconic crustaceans.

“National Lobster Day is a fun and tasty way to pay tribute to our local lobstermen and women and the important economic impact lobsters have on Rhode Island’s economy.  It is a great way to celebrate an industry that supports hundreds of Rhode Island families and helps bring tourists to the area to enjoy delicious, freshly caught lobster and seafood,” said Senator Reed.  “It’s also become a great showcase for Rhode Island’s many great restaurants and can help boost sales.  Whether you enjoy lobster fresh off the boat, or with fresh-made pasta, Rhode Island offers plenty of ways to join the celebration.”

Senator Reed also expressed concerns that Rhode Island lobstermen and the marine industry that supports them could “feel the pinch” from President Trump’s trade policies, which are generating uncertainty for many sectors of the economy.  China, a major buyer of U.S. lobster, consuming about 18 million pounds of American lobster last year, is beginning to impose new 25 percent tariffs on U.S. seafood, including lobster.  Meanwhile the European Union and Canada have recently reached an agreement to remove tariffs on Canadian lobster exports to Europe, while the Trump Administration has no such agreement with the EU.  And tariffs on Canadian steel are leading to higher costs for lobster traps.

Lobster fishing has served as an economic engine and a family tradition in the United States for centuries, helping to support the livelihoods of thousands of families through fishing, processing, and shipping. Nearly 150 million pounds of lobster are caught each year in U.S waters.

According to NOAA Fisheries most recent Fisheries of the U.S. report, American lobsters were the nation’s most valuable landed species in 2016.  Maine led the nation in American lobster landings, with 132 million pounds valued at nearly $537.9 million while Rhode Island lobstermen landed approximately 2.26 million pounds.  Rhode Island ranks 4th in the nation in lobster landings after Maine, Massachusetts (17.7 million pounds), and New Hampshire (5.7 million pounds).

The “National Lobster Day” resolution text follows:

Designating September 25, 2018, as ‘‘National Lobster Day’’.

Whereas American lobster is consistently among the most valuable species landed in the United States;

Whereas lobstering has served as an economic engine and family tradition in the United States for centuries;

Whereas thousands of families in the United States make their livelihoods from catching, processing, or serving lobsters;

Whereas the lobster industry employs people of all ages, and many harvesters begin fishing as children and stay in the industry for their entire working lives;

Whereas historical lore notes that lobster likely joined turkey on the table at the very first Thanksgiving feast in 1621, and it continues to be a mainstay during many other holiday traditions;

Whereas responsible resource management practices beginning in the 1600s have created one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world;

Whereas, throughout history, United States presidents have served lobster at their inaugural celebrations and state dinners with international leaders;

Whereas lobster is an excellent, versatile source of lean protein that is low in saturated fat and high in vitamin B12;

Whereas the peak of the lobstering season in the United States occurs in the late summer;

Whereas the growing reputation of the American lobster as a unique, high-quality, and healthy food has increased its consumption and driven demand internationally;

Whereas the Unicode Consortium added a lobster to its latest emoji set in recognition of the popularity of the species around the world;

Whereas countless people in the United States enjoy lobster rolls to celebrate summer, from beaches to backyards and fine dining restaurants to lobster shacks;

Whereas lobster inspires festivals from Maine to California, where people come together to celebrate their love for the crustacean;

Whereas many people in the United States continue to enjoy steamed lobster with drawn butter; and

Whereas the number of recipes incorporating lobster is growing with chefs across the United States incorporating the protein in new and creative ways from lobster dumplings to lobster grilled cheese: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate—

(1)    designates September 25, 2018, as ‘‘National Lobster Day’’; and

(2)    encourages the people of the United States to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

Senator Reed says he expects the full U.S. Senate to once again unanimously approve the National Lobster Day resolution well in advance of September 25.