Nova Scotia

Southwest Nova Scotia lobster licences sought by foreign buyers, ad says

A group representing inshore fishermen in Atlantic Canada says foreigners are "brazenly and illegally" trying to buy up lobster licences in southwest Nova Scotia.

Licences a 'limited privilege' to a public resource, says Independent Fish Harvesters Federation

The Independent Fish Harvesters Federation says Nova Scotia lobster licences are not open to foreign buyers. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

A group representing inshore fishermen in Atlantic Canada says foreigners are "brazenly and illegally" trying to buy up lobster licences in southwest Nova Scotia.

The Independent Fish Harvesters Federation cites an advertisement in the Lobster Bay Shopper and the Clare Shopper, publications based in Clare, directed at fishermen "looking to retire."

"We have foreign buyers looking to buy Districts 33, 34, 35 and other lobster fishing areas," the ad states.

This ad appeared on the second page of The Clare Shopper issue Number 803. (The Clare Shopper)

The districts cover much of the Bay of Fundy, around southern Nova Scotia and up to the Eastern Shore just past Halifax.

Graham Gawn, a lobster fisherman based in Meteghan and a director of the harvesters federation, said what is suggested is illegal.

"Fishermen who sell a licence relinquish them. This is a limited privilege to access a public resource. The Department of Fisheries then decides," Gawn said.

Gawn said buyers must make a legal declaration that they are an independent owner and operator based in the community.

"It is not open to foreigners," he said.

'Brazen' attempt to buy

Local lobster fishermen have long fought "corporatization" of the inshore lobster fishery.

The Independent Fish Harvesters Federation issued a news release this week decrying the "brazen" attempt to buy licences contained in the advertisement.

"Domestic and international investors are breaking the law and advertising it in newspapers," president Christian Brun said in the release.

No response from company

The publication did not respond to a CBC inquiry. There was also no response to a message left on the phone number listed as the contact on the ad.

Gawn said the ads are only the most blatant example. He said he did not know the companies involved, or even if they have been successful.

"I don't care whether they are from the United States, China, Iceland or Tasmania," he said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul Withers

Reporter

Paul Withers is an award-winning journalist whose career started in the 1970s as a cartoonist. He has been covering Nova Scotia politics for more than 20 years.

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