Trade hostility from across the ocean was supposed to take a snip out of the U.S. lobster business, but the industry is getting a lifeline from its northern neighbor.

Heavy demand from Canada is buoying American lobster as both countries head into the busy holiday export season, according to federal statistics and members of the industry.

It’s a positive sign for U.S. seafood dealers and fishermen, even as the industry struggles with Chinese tariffs.

China emerged as a major consumer of American lobster earlier this decade, but the country slapped heavy tariffs on exports in July amid its trade kerfuffle with President Trump’s administration. Lobster exports slowed to a crawl.

Industry watchers forecast the move as a potential calamity for U.S. seafood, but Canada has boosted the value of its lobster imports from America by more than a third so far this year, up to more than $180 million through September.

Canada has its own lobster fishing industry, which harvests the same species as U.S. fishermen, and the country sells lobsters domestically as well as to Europe and Asia. The country’s importing so many from the U.S. this year because it needs enough supply to send to China, said members of the lobster industry on both sides of the border.

“They go there to go to China, to avoid the tariffs,” said Spiros Tourkakis, executive vice president of East Coast Seafood, a dealer in Topsfield, Massachusetts.

The brisk sales to Canada are among a number of unexpectedly positive signs in a U.S. lobster fishery that had been primed for a difficult year.

The lobster fishing business is based mostly in Maine, where the catch fell by about a sixth last year to a little less than 111 million pounds. The price to fishermen also was down slightly last year.

This year’s catch total won’t be available until early 2019, but it appears to have been a strong year, and prices to fishermen seemed to be a little bit better, said Beth Casoni, executive director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association. Lobsters also have been easy to find in stores for domestic consumers, and the retail and wholesale prices have been competitive with recent years.

“Most of the guys feel like they’ve had a pretty good year,” Casoni said. “About a month ago everybody was really concerned about not going to China due to the tariffs. From what I’ve heard, there hasn’t been much of an impact locally.”

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