POLITICS

Nova Scotia fisheries minister clarifies comments on lobster marketing fees

05/22/2015 08:48 EDT | Updated 05/22/2016 05:59 EDT
HALIFAX - Nova Scotia’s fisheries minister is clarifying remarks he made about whether a significant part of the province’s lobster industry is on board with some form of lobster marketing levy.

Fisheries Minister Keith Colwell said Thursday that buyers on the southwestern shore have agreed to pay a fee, although the structure and amount is yet to be determined.

He had said it would be complex, but it was a breakthrough.

However, in a news release issued Friday, Colwell says a consensus regarding the establishment of the fee from those who catch lobsters hasn’t occurred yet and more discussions are needed.

“It anything is to proceed it will be up to industry to determine how much is contributed, how it is collected and how it is used,” he said in the release.

Colwell said there have been discussions with a group of buyers who are willing to discuss a fee, but the discussions are preliminary and nothing has been agreed to yet.

Many in the industry maintain getting Canada's largest lobster fishery to accept the levy is key to getting the proposed marketing initiative off the ground.

The area accounts for 40 per cent of the country's total catch.

The provincial government introduced legislation last month that would allow it to collect a fee through regulations once the lobster industry decides what form the fee will take.