At Luke's Lobster, we work to preserve and strengthen our coastal communities and bring you the world's best-tasting, sustainably sourced seafood for generations to come.
As part of that mission, we’ve partnered with the Island institute to work on a wide array of issues facing Maine’s coastal communities and build new markets for Maine’s premium seafood that will drive economic activity in coastal communities.
Through this partnership we will build resiliency in the seafood supply chain and provide opportunities for Maine’s fishermen and aquaculturists. This joint endeavor is a continuation of a longstanding collaboration; for years, Luke’s and Island Institute have worked to strengthen Maine’s coastal economies, partnering with fishermen and community leaders to improve resilience along the shore.
Our Impact -The Keeper Fund
The Keeper Fund is our philanthropic initiative at the intersection of our commitments to the Environment and Community. We recognize that a healthy ocean environment is critical to a strong coastal community and fishing industry, so we created a micro-grant program for organizations that are working towards win-wins for both. We’ve funded scientific research through the Island Institute on how kelp aquaculture reduces acidification in the Gulf of Maine, making for healthier shellfish growth and a new income stream for fishermen farming kelp; held fundraisers for Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association that promoted underutilized sustainably harvested fish species; organized and funded fishermen-led ocean and island trash clean ups that keep pollution from harming the ecosystem and the species that feed our community; and more.
Sustainability is not a buzzword at Luke’s. Sustainable Seafood means seafood that is harvested from a healthy population that is not at risk of overfishing, under strict regulations that prevent overfishing or eco-system damage. Traceability from dock to plate is key to ensuring sustainability, and we are proud to trace every pound of seafood we sell to the harbor where it was caught so we know the regulations that bind that fishery to sustainable harvesting methods. Click here to learn more about the sustainability regulations for each of our seafoods.
Luke’s Lobster is committed to supporting coastal communities at home in Maine as well as our communities in cities throughout our shack footprint. We consistently engage with and advocate for our stakeholders across Maine’s coasts, from 6th generation fishing families to first generation immigrants who are the backbone of Maine’s seafood production industry. Luke’s is committed to equity in our food systems. We’re tackling inequities in food access by building a network of free fridges across our shack footprint in communities that lack access to healthy food. And we’re working to remove structural barriers for traditionally marginalized groups in the food industry through internships and student lobstering programs for BIPOC youth, and a preferred purchasing policy that supports BIPOC and women entrepreneurs by sourcing things like cornmeal from a Somali immigrant coop farm, beers from Black-owned breweries, desserts from Black women-owned bakeries, and more.
Since its first day, Luke’s Lobster has been committed to only serving sustainable seafood, and has advocated for transparency in the food chain so that consumers know what they’re eating, who harvested it by what methods, and how it was handled from farm or dock to plate. Our commitment to sustainable ingredients has only grown, but we are now also committed to improving the other environmental impacts of our industry.
We’ve switched to buying 100% renewable energy, supported solar installations in Maine, and made aggressive efficiency improvements in our production facility as we work to complete our first carbon footprint assessment. We are also working directly with fishermen, wharf operators, and other seafood processors on their own efficiency projects and footprint reductions. We’re also tackling waste reduction in our shacks by reducing dependence on single use items and sourcing more environmentally friendly options.
Maine’s lobster fishery is intentionally inefficient — rather than allowing companies to own big corporate fleets, every individual must own and operate their own boat and traps. This helps prevent overfishing and keeps money in local economies. So we don’t own boats or fishing licenses--we buy directly from either individual fishermen, or from fishermen’s co-ops.
A co-op is a business that is collectively owned by those who operate it. While a company-owned dock sets and keeps the profits from buying and selling lobster, fuel, and bait, a co-op uses their collective power to get fishermen the best prices on their inputs and outputs, and chooses as a community how to reinvest or distribute profits. We believe that buying whenever possible from co-ops, like the Tenants Harbor Fishermen’s Co-Op, the Cranberry Isles Fishermen Co-Op, the Port Clyde Fishermen’s Co-Op, the Friendship Fishermen’s Co-Op, and the Ceilidh Fishermen Co-Op, is the best way to use our purchasing to support the communities that provide our seafood.
B Corp - Using Business As A Force For Good
Luke’s Lobster has been a Certified B Corp since January 2018. B Corp is a certification program with a rigorous assessment to prove your company achieves social and environmental good, not just profit. Our commitment to the wellbeing of our team, our community, and the environment makes us one of the only restaurant groups in the world that “walks the walk” enough to earn this certification.
Our B Corp ethos is woven through how we do business--elements like sourcing sustainable seafood from co-ops, buying 100% renewable energy, and giving our team growth opportunities and agency in guiding our business--as well as what we do outside our day to day--investing in scientific research through the Keeper Fund or contributing food to our free fridge network. We see B Corp as the embodiment of the “rising tide lifts all boats” mentality: when we work for the benefit of all our stakeholders and the environment rather than just our own profits, we all grow stronger and succeed together.
Our Communities: Island Institute
The Island Institute has been working since 1983 to sustain Maine’s island and coastal communities, fostering exchange of ideas and experiences to further the sustainability of the coast. They’ve been a long-time partner for Luke’s, first on kelp aquaculture research, then on efforts to decarbonize Maine’s marine sector, and culminating in a partnership to grow Luke’s Online Market to bring a diverse range of sustainable Maine species to doorsteps around the country when fisheries needed a jolt of relief and resiliency to survive the Covid-19 pandemic. They continue to be a partner in looking to the future of our coastal economies and environment and helping innovate paths to success for all.
Maine Coast Fisherman's Association
The Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association works to enhance the sustainability of Maine’s fisheries by advocating for the needs of community-based fishermen and the environmental restoration of the Gulf of Maine. Luke’s frequently partners with MCFA on initiatives to promote underutilized fish caught sustainably in the Gulf of Maine, as alternatives to more popular species that are often overfished, or caught overseas in areas where illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing is rampant. Luke’s also partners with MCFA’s Fishermen Feeding Mainers program that buys underutilized fish and donates it to food insecure communities.