Maritime lobster panel calls for industry changes

A three-member maritime panel, appointed by Canada’s fisheries ministers to examine factors affecting lobster prices, on 7 November presented its report and recommendations on the lobster industry to fisheries ministers from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Panel members included Gilles Thériault of New Brunswick, John Hanlon of Nova Scotia and Lewie Creed of Prince Edward Island.

Since beginning its work in July, the panel met with about 100 organizations representing fishermen, buyers, shippers, processors, brokers and First Nations throughout the Maritimes, Newfoundland, Quebec and the state of Maine. The panel also received nearly 30 submissions from organizations, companies and individuals.

The report addresses five key areas. It looks at why there was a sudden drop in price this spring, and examines the various cost and revenue components of harvesters, buyers and processors in the Maritimes. The report also provides strategic marketing advice and action to stabilize, then increase, prices paid to harvesters.

It also recommends options for a formal system where the industry would know the price paid harvesters before landings. The panel’s recommendations are presented in an attempt to shift from the lack of co-operation across sectors and governments to a new reality, while under operations it wants to see a shift from the current practice of high volume fishing over short periods and its consequences to one where, “the pace of harvesting is matched with the onshore capacity to deal with that harvest in a manner that provides the best chance for each lobster to achieve its fullest value potential.”

“Each of the Maritime provinces will be setting up sessions to brief representatives of our respective lobster industries on the Maritime Lobster Panel report,” said Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell. “We are committed to working with our counterparts in Newfoundland, Quebec and Maine and with the Federal Government to ensure the long-term viability and stability of the lobster industry.”


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