Lobster fishermen question marketing levy
Lobster Council of Canada wants to collect 1 cent on every pound caught
P.E.I. lobster fishermen are waiting to vote on a levy that is intended to promote their product internationally.
The Lobster Council of Canada wants to collect one cent on every pound of lobster caught in Canadian waters, arguing the fee is required to market Canadian lobster on the world stage.
But P.E.I. fishermen still have to be convinced that the levy is worthwhile, said Mike McGeoghegan, president of the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association.
"They're going to have some kind of plan on how they're going to sell this to the fishermen because once you do that it's permanent. It's not going to stop," said McGeoghegan.
"Is it one cent? Is it two cents? You know, what's it costing five ten years from now? Is the return coming back to the fishermen?"
Implementing the levy would require the cooperation of different levels of government, said Geoff Irvine, executive director of the Lobster Council of Canada.
In May, the Maritime provinces announced they had established an independent lobster panel to investigate why prices are decreasing in the region. The panel is also investigating possible marketing initiatives.
"I think everyone agrees that we need to find a way to fund marketing and promotions for Canadian lobster," said Irvine.
"It's just how do we do it? We just haven't been able to find a way yet and we're hoping that the Maritime panel will get that message from everybody and come out with a recommendation that will help us politically and within the sector, get over the hump."
Maine has just decided to increase its fees on its lobster catches. Three years from now a $3-million pot of money will be available for marketing.