Red Lobster building huge aquafarm in Malaysia

A chef grills lobster for the buffet lunch in London, England. The chain restaurant Red Lobster has plans to increase lobster production, which could drive down global prices.

David Brancaccio: The folks that created Red Lobster "for the seafood lover in you" are have a plan to create the world's largest lobster farm -- and not in Maine. It's going to be in Malaysia.

From Washington, Elizabeth Wynne Johnson reports.


Elizabeth Wynne Johnson: The world's appetite for seafood is getting bigger than the ocean's natural capacity to provide. Bill Herzig runs the supply chain for Florida-based Darden Restaurants -- the parent company of Red Lobster.

Bill Herzig: What we see frankly is a significant growth in global demand, not unlike shrimp, not unlike what’s happened with salmon.

So the restaurant company is building an aquafarm in Malaysia capable of churning out some 40 million pounds of lobster each year. Mostly to serve the fast-growing demand in Asia.

Robin Alden is skeptical of commercial-scale lobster farming. She lives in coastal Maine and heads an organization that represents fishing communities.

Robin Alden: In the long run this definitely could put more downward price pressure on the lobstermen, and that’s what they’ll be afraid of.

But there will always be a place for those Maine lobsters. That’s because the Malaysian farm will grow spiny rock lobsters… that don’t have those big, luscious claws.

I’m Elizabeth Wynne Johnson for Marketplace.

A chef grills lobster for the buffet lunch in London, England. The chain restaurant Red Lobster has plans to increase lobster production, which could drive down global prices.

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