Slumping Maritime lobster prices focus of March meeting

Fisheries ministers in the Maritimes will host a summit in March to discuss ways to restore prices in lobster markets.

Summit in Halifax in March will focus on Maritime Lobster Panel recommendations

Fisheries ministers in the Maritimes will host a summit in March to discuss ways to restore prices in lobster markets.

The lobster value recovery summit will be held in Halifax March 26 – 27.

The summit will focus on the recommendations from the Maritime Lobster Panel report, which was presented to the three ministers in November.

One of the recommendations is for a levy on each pound of lobster caught to pay for a marketing campaign aimed at boosting the fishery's profile.

The panel estimated the levy would raise about $2.5 million a year.

The report concluded Canadian fishermen have been losing market share to better-organized competitors in Maine.

The ministers say a consensus is needed on the changes required to strengthen the industry.

"There is good discussion taking place within the industry on how we can achieve a more stable lobster fishery that will see increased prices for today's fishers and processors as well as for the next generation," said P.E.I. Fisheries Minister Ron MacKinley in a news release.

New Brunswick Fisheries Minister Michael Olscamp said there is no one group that can solve the crisis.

“Industry stakeholders from all sectors must sit together and find ways to implement the changes to increase value," said Olscamp.

The summit will also include representatives from Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec. The Lobster Council of Canada will organize the summit, assisted by a steering committee comprising of industry and government representatives from the three provinces.

The panel met with about 100 organizations representing fishermen, buyers, shippers, processors, brokers and First Nations throughout the Maritimes, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Maine. It also received nearly 30 submissions from organizations, companies and individuals.

The report provides strategic advice on marketing initiatives and on a course of action to stabilize and then potentially increase prices paid to harvesters. It also identifies options for a formal system where the industry would know the price that will be paid to harvesters in advance of landings.

With files from The Canadian Press


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