Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

February 13, 2009 17:42 ET

Statement by Minister Shea-Economic Viability of Canada's East Coast Lobster Fishery

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 13, 2009) - The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today issued the following statement:

Today, I met with my provincial counterparts from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and a number of industry representatives from the Maritimes to discuss the serious challenges faced by the lobster fishery, as well as opportunities to ensure the continued viability of this valuable contributor to the Canadian economy.

There's no question that current markets for lobster are challenging. Every lobster fishing group and association has expressed this concern. Today's meeting identified several options for improving the situation, including finding ways to manage supply. I fully support efforts by industry and my provincial counterparts to improve market access for lobster, and I am optimistic that, working together, we will deliver concrete results. All of the participants in today's meeting recognize the need for immediate action to secure Canadian lobster in the global marketplace. Officials at both levels of government are working with industry on a range of marketing activities targeted at increasing the profile of Canadian lobster in wholesale, retail and food service markets.

The Government of Canada is providing support to industry sectors that are feeling the impacts of the global economic crisis. Our Economic Action Plan will help resource-dependent communities through initiatives such as the two-year, $1-billion Community Adjustment Fund, which can help by supporting economic diversification in communities affected by the declining global demand for seafood. We have also acted to improve access to credit for fishing enterprises, and to provide tax relief for small businesses.

It's also clear that we must also look beyond short-term fluctuations in landings and market conditions to long-term conservation of lobster resources. If we don't manage our fisheries in a sustainable manner, we will put the economic benefits we derive from them at risk. During recent consultations with lobster harvesters and fishing organizations, including a meeting in Moncton on February 11, most groups highlighted the need for a rationalization program as well as additional conservation measures. We will continue to work with the industry to provide flexible tools to reduce their operating costs and pressures on lobster stocks.

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Phil Jenkins
    Media Relations
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Office of the Minister
    Ann Matejicka
    Director of Communications