Fishermen's group seeks benefit from lobster levy

The P.E.I. Fishermen's Association wants to know what benefit will return to fishermen if one cent for every pound of lobster they catch is turned over for a marketing plan.
Discussions on a lobster marketing levy are on hold while the season is on. (CBC)

The P.E.I. Fishermen's Association wants to know what benefit will return to fishermen if one cent of every pound of lobster they catch is turned over for a marketing plan.

The Lobster Council of Canada had hoped to collect the levy this year to fund its marketing plans. For the last two years the Council has been trying to add value to the industry after lobster prices plummeted a few years ago to $3.50 a pound, about the same price as bologna.

The council wants to raise around $1 million from Atlantic fishermen and processors, but it needs consensus to do this.

Council executive director Geoff Irvine said he doesn't have agreement from the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association.

"Well, they haven't [said yes] yet, but they haven't said no either," said Irvine.

"They haven't made a final decision on it yet."

Mike McGeoghegan wants to know how fishermen will get their investment in marketing back. (CBC)

Irvine said this year the council did get close to $200,000 from fishermen's groups, processors and the provinces to continue its work, but there's no guarantee for next year.

Mike McGeoghegan, president of the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association, said he's not ready to take the one-cent levy proposal to his members.

"The LCC, they've got to pull their socks up on this thing and show the fishermen how [does] this benefit the fishing industry," said McGeoghegan.

"Not just the buyers and the processors. How's the money get back in the fishermen's pocket?"

Both sides have agreed to resume the discussion on the levy in July after the spring fishing season closes.

The spring season started early this week. Lobster fishermen still don't know what this year's price will be.