Belliveau says Colwell must clarify statements about lobster fee deal

May 22, 2015

(Shelburne, NS) NDP MLA Sterling Belliveau is calling on Fisheries Minister Keith Colwell to clarify statements he made yesterday about a lobster marketing fee deal with buyers in Southwest Nova Scotia.

Yesterday, Colwell told reporters that lobster buyers in Southwest Nova Scotia had agreed to pay into a marketing fund totaling $2 million. Belliveau says according to numerous calls he’s received today from buyers, that is not the case.

Terry Zinck, owner of the Xsealent Seafood Company, and a member of the Nova Scotia Fish Packers Association, says no deal has been reached.

“I was left scratching my head when I read the Minister’s comments,” says Zinck. “We’ve been working with the government to develop a strategy to make our lobster industry more competitive, but to say we’ve reached a deal is not accurate. There is still considerable work to be done and the Minister has placed the cart before the horse. I’d like the Minister to clarify his comments so this process does not get derailed.”

Belliveau says this is not the first time the McNeil government has made premature declarations about a marketing levy. He says the Minister should not be making announcements about marketing fees or levies before first having a mandate from the industry.

“I’ve said all along, Minister Colwell needs to do a better job consulting with the industry and present to them a clear proposal about how this marketing fund will work,” says Belliveau. “If the industry votes to accept the proposal, then the Minister can say he has a deal. “Unfortunately, to this point the Minister has mishandled this file and made a mess of the whole process.”