Vote on lobster levy coming, says PEIFA

Dave Stewart
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Ian MacPherson, left, executive director of the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association, says a board meeting will be held in the next two weeks to decide how to proceed with a vote on a lobster marketing levy for P.E.I. Also pictured is Craig Avery, a member of the association’s board of directors.

Executive members of the association make presentation before legislative standing committee

The executive director of the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association told provincial MLAs they are proceeding with a vote on a lobster marketing levy.

Ian MacPherson appeared before the Standing Committee on Fisheries on Wednesday afternoon.

“We’re having a board meeting in the next week or two and we’re going to highlight our question and get that out to the LFAs (Lobster Fishing Areas),’’ MacPherson told the media after getting the same message across to the committee. “We’ll try to get their read on that and move forward.’’

He’s talking about the exact wording of the question that will ask Island fishermen whether they’re in favour of a levy. The North Shore (LFA 24) has already voted in favour of it.

The Maritime Lobster Panel has recommended a one-cent-per-pound levy for both fishermen and processors as a way to raise funds for marketing strategies. Such a levy would generate up to $500,000 for lobster marketing initiatives here, if matched by processors and buyers.

Last week, the Nova Scotia government announced a five-cent levy within its boundaries as a way to initiate more sales. The plan is to levy two cents a pound for generic marketing efforts and three cents a pound for a quality pilot project to realize greater economic return and expand new markets.

If fishermen in all three areas say yes, and the fishermen’s association believes they will, the next step would be to set up a lobster marketing board and that would require an Islandwide vote.

MacPherson said part of the reason they want to create a board is for transparency. People will want to know how the money is being spent.

“They would want a detailed business plan and (information on) who is administering the program.’’

MacPherson said he’s optimistic it could all happen by next spring.

“In a perfect world it would have been done before the spring but there are a lot of other issues we’re dealing with, too, not just the levy.’’

Craig Avery, a member of the board of directors with the association and the head of the Western Gulf region, also appeared before the committee.

Avery and MacPherson also noted for MLAs it would be nice to have more than one or two processors at the discussion table to offer input.

“If we can have those meetings again it would be great to have more players represented at the table going forward,’’ MacPherson said. “At the end of the day you want people who are willing to be there.’’

They also talked to the MLAs about setting a minimum price for lobster.

“That’s the question, whether we can do it on our own or have it legislated. I guess we would have to see if that’s the direction P.E.I. wants to go in.’’

On the issue of additional cold and live storing of lobsters, Alberton-Roseville MLA Pat Murphy asked whether there should be one at each port or a centralized facility.

Avery said ideally there would be one for each area.

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

Organizations: Standing Committee on Fisheries, LFAs, Maritime Lobster Panel

Geographic location: P.E.I. Fishermen, Iceland, Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Hook and Thumb
    August 07, 2014 - 13:51

    Your just jealous that you didnt catch 30-50 thousand like the rest of us. My canopy was about 400 bucks in material btw. Not a lot. Paid for in a quarter charter.

    • Strait_Fisher
      August 07, 2014 - 15:29

      Your day is coming....it is already showing itself in some ports over there...karma will bite hard!

    • Hook your Finger
      August 08, 2014 - 09:23

      What are you so worried about our trap count for? You feel it is directly effecting your lobster atches there? Or you would like to see us catch less? Thats nice. Tolls may be reversed in a few years, see how you feel then. Prob be the first guy levying to get more traps back in the water. Whats the prob with canopys either? Dont have or need one for the fishery you are doing right now? Dont hate on the fellas that are. Justdoing the same as you, putting food on the table, making a living. Should have asked you first before I guess....grow up.

    • Strait_Fisher
      August 10, 2014 - 18:25

      You guys are too greedy over there...if something doesn't go your way you go crying to the public looking for support...Islanders know that you guys got it good over there and deserve no sympathy...keep on spending tax dollars on your tanks while us in the Strait are responsible for our fishery...when your stock starts to decrease the general population will show no sympathy and laugh instead! Grow up and give up some traps and don't be so greedy!

  • Strait_Fisher
    August 07, 2014 - 12:27

    Don't make this all about the north side voting for the levy already...they did this as a way to appear progressive when they have yet to give up traps and retire any gear in the area. Both LFA 25 and 26A in the Strait have made progress by giving up traps and retiring fleets while LFA 24 took tax money and used it to subsidize tanks and canopies on their boats. They are not progressive. Also, they wanted to set ahead of 26A this spring to avoid a glut(which LFA 24 causes) and when weather didn't go in their favour they were upset the LFA 26A set a day ahead of them even when the weather was good for the south shore!! They should give up traps!

  • what representation
    August 07, 2014 - 11:41

    ..of course these pigs at the trough are all for it- already trying to line up marketing plans to get their share of the $$$'s !! Are processors going to help fishers with their expenses?? Do Cavendish farms charge a levy to farmers to market their fries ?? The processors will skim their share of the levy off the fishers too !! Pointless joke !! Just more hands in their pockets !!