Decrease in lobster exports due to coronavirus is serious concern for fisheries

PC Fisheries and Aquaculture critic Keith Bain says the decrease in lobster prices due to the coronavirus should not be labelled a temporary “blip” by the McNeil Liberal Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister.

Today, Bain wrote a letter to Minister Keith Colwell expressing the concerns of lobster fishers in Nova Scotia.

“People in the fishery industry are worried about the downturn in our lobster exports to China,” says Bain. “What has the McNeil Liberal government done to diversify the markets and sustain the industry? We cannot assume this is a short-term “blip”.

Recently, Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau addressed the Economic Club of Canada in Calgary on Monday saying, “The virus is undoubtedly going to have an economic impact. ”The decrease in lobster price is stoking fear in the industry throughout the province.

“On one hand, Minister Colwell calls the drop in lobster exports a ‘blip,’ but on the other hand, the federal Liberal government is sounding the alarm,” says Bain. “Nova Scotian fishers need to know there is a plan in place to sustain their industry during the downturn of lobster pricing and exports.”

PC MLA Colton LeBlanc agrees. “I have many lobster fishers in my area who are keeping a close eye on the China market, and they are asking what is being done to support our lobster fishers and mitigate any negative impacts to the industry,” says LeBlanc. “There needs to be a contingency plan in place that we can share with our constituents, and it has to happen sooner rather than later.”

Seafood is a primary industry in Nova Scotia, and requires a plan to sustain exports while experiencing a downturn in one area of the market. The lobster industry needs to look at all of its options in case exports to China do not recover.

“We are hearing the panic from people involved in the lobster fishery, and it’s not enough to tell people that it is temporary while sharing no projections or a plan going forward,” says Bain.