Liberals need to take action to avoid quotas being imposed on Nova Scotia lobster harvesters

June 3, 2014

(Shelburne, NS) NDP Fisheries critic Sterling Belliveau says the Liberal government needs to be taking a more proactive approach to implementing the recommendations of the Maritime Lobster Panel. He says, if more action isn’t taken soon, he’s concerned unofficial quotas currently being placed on lobster fishermen in PEI could become more widespread and permanent. He fears the independence of the lobster fishery could be compromised.

Belliveau made the comments after learning fishing boats in parts of Nova Scotia are tied up today due to high lobster landings.

“The Lobster panel released its report on November 7, 2013 but other than a vague commitment to implement a marketing levy, there has been very little action,” said Belliveau. “I appreciate the challenge the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is facing but I’d like to see more action in terms of meeting with the harvesters and processors and working with other provinces and the federal government to bring about positive change.”

Belliveau says improved freezing facilities for bait would help lower harvester’s costs and increased holding capacity in Cape Breton, Eastern and Northern Nova Scotia would help alleviate many of the pressures associated with the current bountiful harvest.

“Last summer fishermen gathered in Antigonish to speak out about the challenges they were facing and I made a point of meeting with them,” said Belliveau. “Since then there has been progress made, but this needs to be a higher priority for the Liberal government. Otherwise, these issues will continue to persist.”