The Maine lobster industry is sweating


October 2, 2019

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Today, Barbie and Elsa are going head-to-head this holiday season, and rental security deposits: is there even a reason? But first…

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New rules to protect endangered whales have lobstermen shaking in their waders

The North Atlantic right whale is at risk of going extinct. There are only about 400 left, and the population is declining rapidly because they’re getting hit by ships and entangled in fishing gear.

New federal rules aim to protect whales by cutting the number of fishing lines in the water, but the WSJ reports that Maine lobstermen are… susfishious.

Lobstermen don’t want to go extinct either

During their busy season, Maine lobstermen throw down more than 800k lines from buoys to ocean-floor traps. The federal rules could require Maine to pull half of these lines from the water.

The lobster industry supports thousands of jobs in Maine and funnels $1.5B into the state’s economy. According to Maine Governor Janet Mills, almost every job in many rural coastal communities involves lobster. 

Lobster people are also arguing that the rules will put too heavy a burden on Maine, considering the majority of recent whale deaths have been in Canada.

Scientists say we need to take drastic measures

The North Atlantic right whale can’t even sustain one death per year, yet 30 have been found dead since June 2017. A recent study analyzing causes of death from 2003-2018 found that 22 of the 70 cases died due to entanglement.

Researchers believe more whales may be cruising to Canada because warming seas have decreased their food supply. Although the Canadian waters have been less hospitable recently, scientists warn against thinking this means Maine is in the clear.

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Dr. Iman’s incredible idea

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Barbie primes to fend off disruptor dollies in fight for holiday-sales dominance

There’s drama in the dollhouse as America’s 3 biggest dollmakers — Mattel, Hasbro, and MGA Entertainment — battle for the top spot on holiday wish lists. With billions of dollars on the line, this is one toy story to watch.

Meet the injection-molded contenders 

Barbie’s been the HBIC for years — earning a huge share of the estimated $3.4B market in 2018 — but pressure from Hasbro’s upcoming Olaf and Elsa release and MGA’s collectible L.O.L. Surprise! Dolls could unseat the icon. 

Olaf and Elsa are merchandising dolls from “Frozen 2,” the sequel to Disney’s Oscar-winning mega-hit. 

L.O.L. Surprise! Dolls — which conceal a fashion doll within multiple layers of packaging, are next-level enablers of the “unboxing” trend. 

Barbie is projected to dominate, but it’s still anybody’s game

Some analysts predict Barbie will bring in $1B+, with Hasbro’s “Frozen 2” dolls and L.O.L. Surprise! earning about $500m each. 

Barbie enjoys the international brand power that comes with having spent 60 years on the market. Even so, any victory will be hard-won.

The first time “Frozen” dolls were issued, Monster High — then a $600m doll brand — saw its value halved overnight. And if “Frozen 2” takes off in China, this could spell trouble for Barbie’s global dominance.

And don’t overlook MGA’s offering. Kids go apesh*t over the L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Fashion Dolls, which were included in Toy Insider’s Hot 20 list. Neither Barbie nor the “Frozen” dolls made the cut.

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Rhino lands $21m in funding to free renters from security deposit purgatory

It’s month’s end. Your apartment is quasi-packed. And you don’t know whether to smile or chain yourself to the door out of migrational protest. In other words, it’s moving day. 

They say change is good. But it’s hard to find a silver lining when your brother-lord (brother/landlord) forces you to find a new place to live — especially when you have to deploy a new credit card just to pay the security deposit. 

Here’s one upside: Yesterday, Rhino announced a $21m Series A that will help fund the insurtech startup’s goal of reimbursing the billions of rent dollars that are buried in cash security deposits.

3x more than the monthly rent? Now that’s comedy

As of now, landlords typically demand one month’s rent to cover any damage done to the rental during the lease — that’s on top of the first and, sometimes, last month’s rent.

Federal regulations force the money into an account that can’t gain interest, resulting in billions of dollars being removed from the economy.

Rhino, which creates and sells insurance policy plans for landlords in partnership with other carriers, wants to reduce today’s soul-swindling security deposit to a miniscule monthly insurance policy (as low as $3). The startup has reportedly saved renters around $60m alone in 2019.

Rhino worldwide

According to Fast Company, San Francisco tenants may have to hack up as much as an extra $7.2k for a one-bedroom security deposit — on top of the typical $3.6k a month in rent. 

Even in Boise, ID — the burgeoning city where I live, which refuses to raise its decade-old minimum wage of $7.25, even as the housing market pops off like a bottle of Brut — it’s tough to shell out an additional $850 on top of 2 months’ “cheap” rent.

Rhino is reportedly working with policymakers on both sides of the coin to create new renter-friendly laws as well — hopefully at least one geared toward the interest of brother/landlords. Something like, “Thou shalt not kick brother out of home.”

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Hold yer hoodies: Research shows workers don’t love the super casual workplace

These days, it’s as if the most coveted office cultures are the ones touting anything-goes dress codes, labradoodles roaming free, and a robust social activity budget. But new research indicates that most workers actually aren’t so down with ultra-relaxed office vibes. 

This ain’t your parents’ workplace 

The cajzhe office evolution has largely been driven by traditional buttoned-up corporations increasingly competing for talent with the hoodie-wearing, craft beer-drinking cultures dominating Silicon Valley. 

Additionally, the #MeToo movement has nudged certain companies to loosen up female-focused dress codes. 

There’s also the ever-blurring of social media with work personas, plus the increasing prevalence of remote flexibility. Gone are the days of suits, ties, and the traditional 5-day workweek.

…Or are they? Survey says: Lose the beanbag chairs 

A Udemy survey revealed that a “silent majority” of full-time US workers would rather bypass all the “I’m a cool mom” office work perks in favor of a get-in-get-out work/office mentality — and *gasp* this includes the ever-woke millennials, with even splits across both age and gender. 

Meanwhile, employer review site Comparably released its annual list of the happiest workers, which asks whether employees are proud to be a part of their organization. 

At the end of the day, workers want to get paid for good work more than they want a chill office environment. The question is: Where’s the balance?

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