NOTE: The following is a statement from Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell.
I would like to clarify statements made in a recent interview I did on a proposed lobster fee.
In saying a fee could move ahead without harvesters, I was referring to the possibility of separate arrangements if that is what the industry decides it wants to do.
If anything is to proceed it will be up to industry to determine how much is contributed, how it is collected and how it is used. Government’s role is to enable industry’s plan and ensure accountability and transparency.
There have been recent discussions with a group of buyers who said they were willing to discuss a fee. Those discussions are preliminary and nothing has been agreed to at this point. Ultimately implementing a contribution plan for lobster buyers would require consultations and support from the entire lobster buying sector.
At this point I do not see consensus from harvesters regarding the establishment of an industry-led fund. Further discussion needs to take place.
Also, my reference to $2 million may have caused some confusion. That estimate was based upon two cents per pound and the amount of lobster reported as bought in the province in 2014. However, any amount contributed would only be determined by industry.
I look forward to having further discussions with the lobster industry about establishing a fund to benefit the sector.