Last chance for lobster industry to get it right

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Now that a panel of experts has made its recommendations on how to fix the Maritime lobster industry, it’s up to the stakeholders to end years of mistrust and make it work.

Unfortunately, if recent history is any indication it’s going to be hard sell.

The three-member Maritime Lobster Panel released its report on Thursday, making 33 recommendations it believes are essential to the survival of a billion-dollar industry that reached a crisis point last spring when numerous fishermen took their boats off the waters in protest of record low prices.

In making their recommendations, the panel said they see an industry that’s struggling instead of co-operating, fishing for quantity instead of value, fighting over pennies while losing dollars and asking (or expecting) others to fix their problems.

The fact is, if the Maritime lobster industry is to survive, everyone needs to be singing from the same song sheet. Fishermen, buyers and processors need to think of the big picture instead of sniping at each other and blaming the other side for its troubles.

Many Maritimers don’t know what’s involved in the bringing their favourite crustacean to their plate. Fact is most don’t really care as long as the price is affordable and the product is accessible.

Members of the panel feel their recommendations are common sense that if followed will give the industry a fighting chance to survive.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand how the dairy industry has taken advantage of marketing to maintain its market share while developing new markets for its products. There’s little doubt that a one cent per pound levy is going to be opposed by both sides of the question, but it’s something that should be widely accepted if it leads to more customers and, in turn, better prices.

As much as the panel’s suggestions are just that – a signpost toward the future – a buy-in is needed from everyone and along with buying into what’s being recommended is the notion that the lobster fishery is now a partnership of those who harvest the lobster, those who buy it, those who process and even though who buy it off the store shelves.

At the end of the day, this may the industry’s last opportunity to get it right because a repeat of last spring’s performance is something that will not be well received by those who at the end of the day pay the bills – the consumer.


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Recent comments

  • G. Bryne
    January 23, 2014 - 12:50

    "Our analysis concludes that the lobster industry in the Maritimes is not achieving the best value for production. We have laid out a Value Recovery Strategy that we feel will stabilize and increase economic returns. We also conclude that to make the Value Recovery Strategy work, we need a cooperative approach by all components of the industry." - Maritime Lobster Panel ---------------------------------------------------------- Translation: dear government, we want higher prices for or product. We can't do this unless you provide the enforcement against any fisherman who wants to sell lobster below what our fixed price is. We need taxpayer money and legislation to build a cartel that will let us set our prices instead of our customers. With your cooperation we can make sure affordable lobster is a thing of the past.

  • Doug P
    January 23, 2014 - 11:20

    "Within the Maritime Provinces, the Panel recommends the development and implementation of a price-setting mechanism for determining price per-season provided that such a mechanism is based in legislation, is not mandatory, but once engaged by a particular fleet or group, the price negotiated becomes the minimum legal price that can be paid to that fleet or group. "- Maritime Lobster Panel _______________________________________________________ Cut through the Bull Excrement and it means price controls and attempt to cartelize the eastern lobster fishery. The consumer will be forced to pay more by law for lobster. The old Dairy industry trick. In the end they will try to prevent lobster lovers from buying it off the warf for cheaper prices because the cartel will be watching and waiting to fine who ever is doing it . Lobster fishermen have joined forces with the government to screw the consumer on prices.