Proposed five cent lobster levy is out of bounds says MLA

Greg Bennett gbennett@thecoastguard.ca
Published on July 25, 2014
A proposed five cent per pound levy on lobster catches in Nova Scotia is under fire by an NDP MLA.

NDP Fisheries critic Sterling Belliveau says the province has stepped out of bounds by declaring a five-cent-a-pound lobster levy without first consulting with harvesters.

 Belliveau made the comments after Keith Colwell’s announcement that he will introduce legislation this fall that will impose a levy on lobster catches for "marketing and quality.”

The Queens-Shelburne MLA says this is nearly triple the amount recommended by the Maritime Lobster panel in the fall of 2013.

 “I honestly don’t know where Keith Colwell gets off thinking he can impose a five cent a pound tax on lobster without getting the approval of the industry first,” says Belliveau. “Lobster fishers have fought hard to maintain their independence and Minister Colwell has no right to impose anything on them without first getting their permission.”

Belliveau says while the industry was open to considering a two cent a pound levy for marketing, Colwell’s unilateral decision to increase the levy to five cents will cost fishermen and their crews a tremendous amount of money. It will also cost buyers additional money. Belliveau wonders who is going to receive profits from this levy and who will determine how they will be administered.

 “Every fishermen in every port across Nova Scotia is wondering right now why they are going to have to fork over hundreds of extra dollars and who will decide how that money will be spent. Minister Colwell has a lot of explaining to do,” added Belliveau.