Penny a pound lobster levy gets initial approval

Steve Sharratt
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Levy could raise $250,000 for marketing Island lobster

A lobster levy to create a slush fund for marketing the king of seafood has earned overwhelming support in a test vote from Prince Edward Island fishermen, with hopes it could raise $250,000 for marketing.

In the test vote, fishermen in Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) 24, from Tignish to North Lake, gave overwhelming support.

“This was just a test zone to identify some opinion,’’ said Mike McGeoghegan, president of the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association (PEIFA). “But based on these findings, we are now talking about an Island-wide vote to see what we get.”

The penny a pound levy has been hotly debated over the winter after Maritime lobster fishermen tied up their boats last spring in protest and refused to fish for the two weeks because of dismal prices.

P.E.I. fishermen landed more than 25 million pounds of lobster last year, which would quickly raise an annual provincial slush fund of over $250,000.

Low prices over the past seven years have led some fishermen to leave the industry, while others have been leaving through buyouts from a federal rationalization program.

“A levy would generate a big pot of money, but exactly where that penny a pound would end up, or how it would be used, is in discussion,’’ said McGeoghegan.

The subject will likely be one topic on the agenda of the PEIFA annual convention to be held at the Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown this weekend.

The survey revealed a 75 per cent approval rate from north side fishermen to the one cent per pound levy as tallied up from the 309 questionnaires returned. Officials said this was a test and the levy would not be adopted until all fishermen participate in a province wide vote.

The Lobster Council of Canada has been advocating a penny a pound levy for all Canadian lobster which, at more than 150 million pounds from all three provinces, would generate upwards of a $1.5 million marketing budget.

However, McGeoghegan said it is still unclear whether the penny levy funds would be administered by each fishing association, like the PEIFA, or through the Lobster Council.

Organizations: PEIFA, Delta Prince Edward, The Lobster Council of Canada

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Lobster Fishing Area, Tignish North Lake P.E.I. Fishermen Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • PEIFA
    February 25, 2014 - 17:27

    the same guy that said the fisherman didn't want it publicly not that long ago.. hmmm weird what happens when you get information before you open your mouth isn't it !

  • therealWAYNEDROPS
    February 25, 2014 - 14:39

    Red lobster is building a lobster farm that will grow 40 million lbs of lobster per year . Maybe they will pay a cent per lb as well .

    • High-Roller
      February 25, 2014 - 20:18

      Half truths and hearsay are the order of the day once again, I see. Darden Corporation is building a farm for "spiny" lobsters, which in fact are not lobsters at all. They are being grown in Asia, for the Asian market.

    • thereal WAYNEDROPS
      February 26, 2014 - 06:22

      Redlobster uses spiny lobster in soups and chowder in the usa but serves Maine lobster whole and in the visible tanks .These lobster farms will absolutley affect lobster demand in the future . And so will the lobster farming operations they are considering in Nova Scotia .

    • High-Roller
      February 26, 2014 - 12:02

      At present, there isn't an economically feasible way to grow the American Lobster, but you're right, if the spiny lobster is a more affordable alternative, it would impact the price of "real" lobsters.

  • AMAZED
    February 25, 2014 - 12:56

    That is a good name for it...a slush fund and to be spent at whose discretion ! A penny a pound will become a quarter in no time and we will still be at the mercy of greedy men . New Found Land set a minimum price of $4.67 for lobster sold by fishers there but people in Nfld. are smarter than our government .

    • don
      February 25, 2014 - 16:41

      grade school kids are smarter then our government. but i am wondering how is wes going to get his hands on this money? he will think of a way.

  • don
    February 25, 2014 - 11:26

    give the money to wes he knows how to look after money.

  • Fishers
    February 25, 2014 - 11:08

    At one time fishing used to be a noble occupation,when the fisherman would fish from April -Freeze up,and they would only complain amongst themselves,now with todays generation all they do is either complain or look for hand outs,see who has the biggest engines or fancy homes,if I fished I would rather say I worked at McDonalds as you would get more respect.

  • therealWayneDrops
    February 25, 2014 - 08:05

    JRSPLACE must be a twelve year old kid complaining all the time as he decided to use my username and post his ignorance

  • But
    February 25, 2014 - 08:02

    Pennies are non-existent now. $250,000 for marketing island lobster - this will go to govt coffers, watch & see.

  • Learn..
    February 25, 2014 - 07:03

    The potato farmers who grow for large processors pay a levy and it is used for the Potato Processing Council. They work hard to negotiate for fair potato prices. If you get the right people in there, it is well worth it.

  • Our 2 cents worth
    February 25, 2014 - 04:45

    Ummmmm.lets give up 1 cent ,than ask for a 2 cent government subsidy,then get a right off and ask to see if they can just put us on ei year round to save the time in filling out 2 claims.

  • slushy mcgee
    February 24, 2014 - 22:07

    $250k will pay for Ron MacKinley and his deputy minister. Way to go fellas!

  • WAYNEDROPS
    February 24, 2014 - 21:27

    I hope that we will get more EI from that penny per lb . We deserve it for being such high class people . Islanders should bow down when a lobsterman drives by . You common folk should be washing our trucks before you are allowed to ever get EI .

    • Robert
      February 25, 2014 - 04:53

      No need of that, just remember without fishing all islanders would be without work

    • Frank The Tank
      February 25, 2014 - 09:21

      I'd rather a steak any day, those bottom feeding lobsters aren't fit to eat. Waynedrops you have it wrong. Islanders don't bow down to lobstermen, we're turning our heads or ducking because we wouldn't want to be mistakenly caught associated with a whining fisherman. You are as bad or possibly worse then a potato farmer.... Get a real job!!! EI is supposed to be for Working citizens who temporarily lose their job, not repeat moochers like you and the rest of the repeat offenders in the fishing community. If a high class person is someone stinking of B.O, fish and dressing like a hobo then Waynedrops you've nailed it! BTW, you can't wash off rust .