CANADA - A lobster value recovery summit will be held March 26 - 27 in Halifax, hosted by Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Michael Olscamp and his counterparts from the other Maritime provinces.
The summit will focus on the recommendations from the Maritime Lobster Panel report, which was presented to the three ministers last November, and will seek consensus on the changes needed to strengthen the industry.
“The report has generated attention and interest within the lobster industry,” said Mr Olscamp.
“Industry stakeholders from all sectors must sit together and find ways to implement the changes to increase value for all segments of the industry.”
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 comprised of industry and government representatives from the three provinces.
“We are pleased with the positive response to the report and the progress to date,” said Ron MacKinley, Minister of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development, Prince Edward Island.
“We have participated in numerous meetings across the province. 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.”
Since the report was presented, each minister has held sessions where members of the panel briefed industry stakeholders. Two remaining sessions will be held in February – one in Nova Scotia and the other in New Brunswick – for representatives of First Nations harvesters in Atlantic Canada.
“It is critical that we receive input and direction from the lobster industry,” said Keith Colwell, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Nova Scotia.” I look forward to hearing the discussion that comes out of this summit as it will help define our actions as we move forward on this important initiative.”
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 addresses why there was a sudden drop in price in the spring of 2013 and examines the various cost and revenue components of harvesters, buyers and processors in the Maritimes.
The report provides strategic advice on marketing initiatives and on a course of action to stabilise 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.
TheFishSite News Desk