Overseas Tariffs Hurt Lobster Industry

NORTHPORT, NY - JULY 13: Lobster fisherman John Lheron reaches up for a lobster trap July 13, 2003 in Northport, New York. Lheron is one of only a few lobsterman left on Long Island as a mysterious disease has been killing off lobsters in the Long Island Sound since 1999. Before the die-off lobstermen could bring in up to 900 lobsters a day; now they average 40 on a good day, barely enough to cover operating costs. Some scientists believe the dwindling numbers have been caused by pesticides sprayed to combat West Nile Virus, while others believe shore development has altered the habitats of lobsters and bivalves including oysters, scallops and clams. As scientific studies continue, a way of life for generations of fishermen is slowly disappearing. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NORTHPORT, NY - JULY 13: Lobster fisherman John Lheron reaches up for a lobster trap July 13, 2003 in Northport, New York. Lheron is one of only a few lobsterman left on Long Island as a mysterious disease has been killing off lobsters in the Long Island Sound since 1999. Before the die-off lobstermen could bring in up to 900 lobsters a day; now they average 40 on a good day, barely enough to cover operating costs. Some scientists believe the dwindling numbers have been caused by pesticides sprayed to combat West Nile Virus, while others believe shore development has altered the habitats of lobsters and bivalves including oysters, scallops and clams. As scientific studies continue, a way of life for generations of fishermen is slowly disappearing. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA (WBZ-AM) – You can count the lobster industry as one being affected by overseas tariffs and now a potential problem coming for the price of traps the sector uses.

Steel mesh is a big part of lobster traps and Riverdale Mills of Northbridge, MA is a huge supplier and 'its' feeling squeezed by tariffs:

“We are the largest net importer of  steel in the world,” said Jim Knott, CEO of Riverdale Mills. “We import 34-tons a year,” he said. over

“Basically if we try to purchase steel anywhere in the world and we try to import it there a tarrif on it. ,” Knott said.

And in the past few months his costs have skyrocketed:

“ Since the beginning of January until now….the costs have nearly doubled”  Knott said.  and at home there's nowhere to turn:

“Almost all the U.S., mills are already booked and they are  booked up, until November” Knott said.

and for now Riverdale mills is 'eating' the cost....but as far as knott is concerned....the tariff math is wrong and as long as his company is providing mesh for lobster traps Lobstermen have a friend in Riverdale Mills:

“We define ourselves in by the lobster industry and almost all the people in the industry use our product so we’re going hang in there and we’re going to protec that industry as long as we can,” Knott said.

WBZ NewsRadio1030’s Jeff Brown reports.

 

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