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P.E.I. lobster levy will launch this spring

When the lobster fishery launches this spring, P.E.I. will become the first province in the region where a two-cent-a-pound levy will be collected.

The Island will be the 1st Maritime province where the 2-cent-a-pound marketing levy is collected

Lobster harvesters expect to collect about $300,000 in levy money this year. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

When the lobster fishery begins this spring, P.E.I. will become the first province in the region where a two-cent-per-pound levy will be collected.

The levy will take one cent per pound from P.E.I. fishermen for lobster they bring in and another cent per pound from the buyers. The money will be used for marketing.

Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are expected to launch their own levies in 2017.

A lobster marketing board — comprised of six executives from the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association (PEIFA) and six lobster fishermen — has been established to decide how to spend the harvesters' half of the money.

The board will have around $300,000 spend this year based on last year's catches said Ian MacPherson, executive director of the PEIFA.          

It's not a lot, said MacPherson, but he still thinks it can make a difference.

The board might decide to hire a marketing company to produce a campaign or do some market research with the money.         

"There are certain things, certain social media initiatives and whatever that can be done at quite a reasonable cost," said MacPherson.

"If there's not a regional effort that goes forward then perhaps there can be some matched funding available from either the province end or the federal government. So, at the end of the day, the focus is to promote Prince Edward Island lobster and that could be done in a variety of forms."

The first meeting of the lobster marketing board will be set in the next few weeks.

The spring lobster fishery opens at the beginning of May.

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