Fishermen, buyers, shippers and processors all endorsed a levy to support the marketing of Canadian lobster during the Canadian Lobster Value Recovery Summit.
The event, which wrapped up March 27, in Halifax, was hosted by the three Maritime fisheries ministers to discuss key recommendations from the Maritime Lobster Panel Report and was attended by more than 200 industry members.
Summit participants supported a mechanism to collect a levy, and gave clear direction to the three ministers to proceed.
The levy would see fishermen and the onshore side of the industry each pay one cent per pound for every lobster caught. The Lobster Council of Canada has been pushing for this levy for the past couple of years. The fisheries ministers say they hope the levy could be in place by the end of the year but added some consultation is still needed with fisheries organizations.
"I am encouraged by the co-operation and collaboration shown by industry at this summit," said Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell at the conclusion of the summit. "We have received great feedback on a number of important issues that will allow the industry to move forward."
The levy will support creating a generic marketing plan to promote Canadian lobster as a premium product around the world, developing new markets and collecting and distributing up-to-date, accurate market information to the industry.
Several presenters spoke of how a levy benefited their industry, most notably Norway, which has become a leading supplier of seafood around the world.
Federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea was the guest speaker at the summit.
"This summit is a terrific example of how industry can work together to make a difference in the lives of fishermen and their communities," said Shea. "While our government is committed to helping fishers thrive, we also believe that industry must lead the drive for solutions."