New lobster processors could set up in Prince Edward Island

Ryan Ross
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Agreement with Ocean Choice prohibiting new lobster processing licences in the province for 10 years has expired

An agreement between the provincial government and Ocean Choice prohibiting new lobster processing licences in P.E.I. for 10 years has expired.

After years of being hampered by an agreement that kept the P.E.I. government from issuing new lobster processing licences, at least one application is waiting for approval for this year’s fishing season.

In an interview with The Guardian, Fisheries Minister Ron MacKinley said he couldn’t disclose any information about the company or where it wanted to set up shop, but the completed application was submitted Tuesday.

“We’re open for business in the province of P.E.I. for new processors,” he said.

An agreement between Ocean Choice Inc. and the provincial government prohibited the province from issuing any new lobster processing licences for 10 years as part of the company’s deal to take over failed Polar Foods.

That agreement expired earlier this month.

Ocean Choice, which closed its Souris plant in 2011, and the provincial government are involved in a legal battle over outstanding debt and the company’s claim the province violated their agreement by providing financial aid to its competitors.

In recent years lobster prices have been so low fishermen have said they struggled to make money and there has been a push for more marketing to try and sell more lobster.

Another processor could lead to increased demand for Island lobster and higher prices.

MacKinley said he didn’t know how far along the applicant processor was in their business plans.

“We’ll have a licence for them when they’re ready to start processing.”

With one application completed, MacKinley said a second applicant has expressed interest but didn’t have all of the necessary paperwork in place.

MacKinley said the province has also issued nine more buyers’ licences so far in 2014 than it did all of last year.

There were 40 buyers’ licences issued in 2013.

MacKinley said if every plant that was processing last year is up and running this season the volume of processed lobster will be up.

“That’s a good news story.”

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/ryanrross

Organizations: Ocean Choice

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • Binns and the Bungholes
    April 25, 2014 - 01:16

    Binns should have be shot for making his Tory hacks rich with the Polar deal,along with screwing over every fisherman for the last 10 years. Then again I think Harper is Binn,s illigit child.

  • Leroy
    April 24, 2014 - 19:32

    Not sure how more processors will lead to higher prices and increased demand for lobster, the problem is not a glut of lobster being processed but a glut of lobster there is available on the market.

  • AMAZED
    April 24, 2014 - 19:20

    I hope the new person is not one of the knobs that made up Polar Foods , they already cost fishers and tax payers a kings ransom ,who in their right mind would let them in let alone sell product to them .

  • know better
    April 24, 2014 - 19:12

    I would like to know Amazed how long is it going to take to forget and forgive the present government for the HST, PNP, Health care, Education and for our families to be separated by thousand of miles to find employment with a livable wage ?

    • AMAZED
      April 24, 2014 - 19:28

      Present govt will wear HST but PNP and everything else is about the same ,except qualified people are getting govt jobs these days not just political party card holders.

  • ramsey
    April 24, 2014 - 17:08

    who are they going to give our tax-money to this time? obviously there are expectations of grants and hand outs.

  • Jimmy Buffet
    April 24, 2014 - 12:19

    This was a major roadblock to free trade and a handicap to all fishers and singled out only PEI. This may have more effect on better prices then anything else done so far .What an era to have to survive through, another Tory hangover just more painful.

  • JRSPLACE
    April 24, 2014 - 12:01

    Finally fishers may get a fair price .Good luck to all on the water this year.

  • AMAZED
    April 24, 2014 - 11:48

    10 years is not long enough for people to forget or forgive Binns or his elected goons costly mistakes .For creating the monopoly called Polar Foods then Ocean Choice people should have went to jail .It is called price fixing .

  • no google
    April 24, 2014 - 11:44

    Ocean Choice. Who's idea was that you Tory Clowns?

  • don
    April 24, 2014 - 11:40

    Fisheries Minister Ron MacKinley. where is OUR 10 million buck plus that you all gave to ocean choise? where is it ? and how much are you going to donate this time to a liberal to open on PEI?

    • Well Said
      April 24, 2014 - 15:57

      Very well said don , just how much is this new or (maybe reviled) player going to cost us . Also , where are they going to get workers , Islanders won't take the job's .