Nova Scotia freezes issuance of new seafood buyer licenses

Published on
January 19, 2018

Nova Scotia’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell has placed an indefinite freeze on the buyer side of the province’s seafood sector.

Under the terms of the temporary freeze, the government is not issuing new seafood buyer or processing licenses. The objective is to reduce fishermen from hoarding a license based on future value. 

Several recent high-profile incidents have brought attention to speculation in licences from outside investors, who have no fish plant or intention of working the license.

"We've put a freeze in place to stop everything until we get a new framework in place and new policy and maybe a new act,” Colwell told local media. “I don't know where it's going to lead us."

The freeze is not intended to be a permanent restriction, Colwell said.

“It’s a breathing space and it does not impact existing dormant licenses,” he said. "For a processor to invest in a value-added product, it's millions of dollars and they've got to be confident that the next day, all over the province, another 25 processors aren't doing exactly the same thing. There has to be a formula so they know their investments are well done."

The freeze went in to effect on 11 January and was announced to an invitation-only industry gathering on 16 January. 

Reporting from Eastern Canada

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