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Membertou buys two offshore lobster licences at $25 million

Clearwaters products include scallops, lobster, clams, coldwater shrimp, crab and fish. Photo special to Transcontinental media.
Membertou First Nation announced Tuesday it has reached an agreement with Clearwater Seafoods for a $25 million purchase of two offshore lobster licences. FILE
MEMBERTOU, N.S. —

Membertou First Nation has reached an agreement with Clearwater Seafoods for a $25-million purchase of two offshore lobster licences.

“We’re very excited here in Membertou First Nation. It’s a historic investment,” said Chief Terry Paul of the announcement made this week. “...It significantly increases our presence in the offshore commercial lobster fishing.”

Clearwater Seafoods has a deal with 14 Mi’kmaq communities in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland regarding Arctic surf clams, announced last year. Paul thinks this another step in furthering Membertou’s commercial efforts in the offshore industry and strengthening relations with the company.

The deal holds a 90-ton quota and the two partners are working on increasing the number of jobs available to Membertou community members.

Paul said they’re working with Clearwater to ensure any future job opportunities are available to community members, making sure training and human resources are made available. But he was unsure how many jobs that may create.

“We feel that it’s a good deal and we feel it’s a good way to reconcile with us by working with us,” said Paul.

The licence allows for fishing from a year-round boat and discussions about purchasing the licences began in 2019. Clearwater Seafoods previously held eight offshore lobster licences.

The deal is still pending regulatory approval, but Paul doesn’t foresee a problem, as it’s been approved by shareholders and the Toronto stock exchange already. Now, Paul says the community is focusing on gaining even more access to offshore fishing.

“We feel as equal partners to build value and opportunities for all of our communities,” said Paul.

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