Accepting status quo not working for lobster industry: NDP

NDP Fisheries and Aquaculture critic Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) wants this province’s Fisheries Minister to start taking the problems of our lobster industry seriously.

In May, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick announced they would co-operate to find solutions and new market initiatives for Atlantic lobster. New Brunswick Fisheries Minister Olscamp said this is, “…an Eastern Canadian issue. It’s only by working together that we can move forward.”

“Five weeks ago that independent panel began consulting lobster brokers, buyers, fishers, processors and others in the Maritime Provinces,” said Mitchelmore. “I am disappointed that our own fisheries minister has not taken a more active role with our regional counterparts on an issue vital to the economic well-being of our rural communities.

“The Maritime Provinces’ proactive approach will see a report compiled by September. The report will determine why there has been a price drop for lobster, and if the drop reflected market conditions. It will examine the expenses and revenues of participating fishers, provide strategic marketing initiatives, and give advice on how to stabilize and increase price for harvesters and protect a fair return for other industry businesses.”

He adds that if industry decides to accept the report’s recommendations, the September timing allows for changes to be made in the leadup to the 2014 season, potentially avoiding the pricing disputes that have become a regular spring features of the lobster industry.

“Minister Dalley’s no plan, no action approach continues to fail lobster fishers and our rural communities,” said Mitchelmore. “We must expect more. He should reach out to his Atlantic counterparts or even begin his own independent review to improve returns for Newfoundland and Labrador lobster. The status quo is unacceptable for our fishery; we need innovation and creative thinking.”

Associated Caucus Members: 

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