February 18, 2015 Executive Director's Message



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Conversations about an industry levy have occurred for some time, but since the Lobster Value Recovery Summit held in March 2014, they have become more directed, with all four Atlantic Provinces engaging in consultations with industry about how a levy would work. Each province is progressing with a different process and timetable but all are in discussions with industry in their respective provinces about a levy or flat fee system. A high level update follows:
 
Prince Edward Island -  Consultations have been underway for some time with harvesters and buyers with PEI  planning a two pronged approach using existing legislation that would see a marketing board created under the Natural Products Marketing Act to establish a lobster marketing board which will collect from harvesters.
To collect from buyers and processors the provincial government has introduced an amendment to the Fisheries Act (Bill 21) that has been passed and will be proclaimed by cabinet. This bill provides amendments to the Fisheries Act that allows for the collection of levies from buyers who are regulated by the province.
 
New Brunswick - In New Brunswick the provincial government is preparing draft enabling legislation that if introduced and passed would allow for any seafood group to collect and invest in their sector.  The core feature would be collection from the first buyer who would collect from the harvesters and remit the amount together. Processors represented by the NS/NB Lobster Processors Association support the plan as does the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association and Fundy North Fishermen’s Association.  The province held consultations with buyers on the East coast before Christmas and have sessions planned for the Bay of Fundy for early 2015. Barring any major challenges the proposed legislation could be introduced at the Spring sitting of the house.
 
Newfoundland – Discussions are still being held in Newfoundland with meetings planned for late February with the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union, representatives of the buyers  groups and the provincial government to discuss options for collection.
 
Nova Scotia -  In Nova Scotia organized harvesters in the East/Gulf/North, through their associations, have agreed to support a levy system where the first buyer collects and remits on behalf of the harvester. A consultative process for South West Nova Scotia is currently underway and is being organized by the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Associations in the East/Gulf/North will also be asked to provide input on mechanism for collection.
 
A group of dealers have advised the government that while they generally support the need for an industry funding source for the priorities of the LCC, they are not in favour of a levy system or collecting from harvesters. They do, however, favour some type of a flat fee system that would collect the same expected amount from the buying sector but the details are unclear of how that could look. Maine is currently utilizing a flat fee system. Most live shippers who are members of the LCC support a levy program.
 
The province is planning consultations with the buying sector to review options and support with a format similar to that noted above for harvesters in SWNS.

 




Why Use the Canadian Brand?
 

The new generic marketing plan builds upon the Canadian lobster brand by stating quite simply and powerfully that “The Best Lobster in the World Comes from Canada.”  The Canadian lobster brand is based on the following brand pillars:


1.            Pristine Natural Environment - Canadian lobsters’ superior quality is a result of a cold, clean and pristine ocean.

2.            Wild – Canadian lobster is one of the purest protein sources on earth that is caught in traps and pots by proud harvesters in the North Atlantic Ocean.
 
3.            Genuine – Canadians are world renowned for their honesty and integrity. Respect and trust is bestowed upon us an industry from trap to table.

4.            Food Safety – Canada’s food safety guidelines ensures that only live and processed products of the highest quality reach the market.

5.            Sustainability – Sustainable management of the lobster fishery ensures reinforces Canada as a global leader of wild caught lobster.

6.            Traceability – Canada is a world leader in the ability to systematically identify and track all stages of the harvesting, production, processing and distribution value chain.

7.            Quality – Canadian lobsters are harvested at their peak, providing greater meat yield and longer life span, enabling live lobsters to be shipped and enjoyed around the world.

8.            Consistency – Unique fishing seasons ensure that Canadian lobsters are harvested at their peak to help ensure consistent quality and availability of both live and processed lobster.

9.            Versatility – Canadian lobster can be enjoyed live or packaged in hundreds of product offerings catering to every discerning palate.

10.          Taste – Canadian lobster has an unparalleled sweet flavour and delectable texture. Canadian lobster is celebration food at its very best!



If you are interested in using the Canadian lobster brand click here for the brand standards guide and eps logos. Let’s get the Canadian lobster brand in front of the World!






MSC Certification Around the Corner



The Nova Scotia and New Brunswick inshore lobster fishery is one step closer to achieving eco-certification from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The NS/NB Lobster Eco-certification Society is in the Public Comment Draft Report (PCDR) phase which will last for 30 days until February 24, 2015. After comments stemming from the PCDR phase are addressed there will be a 15 day period to view the final report. Certification is expected in April.


 

Eco-certification is in demand by consumers around the world, and is an important part of the Canadian lobster brand strategy. It helps consumers identify seafood products that have been harvested from sustainable fisheries. This is increasingly important in European and other key markets where consumers are concerned about sourcing sustainable seafood.



The annual meeting of the Nova Scotia/New Brunswick Eco-certification society will occur on February 25, 2015 at the Glengarry Motel in Truro, NS.  The meeting will provide an opportunity to discuss eco-certification labelling.






Market Access Issues Update

 

Market access is an important area of focus for the council. The LCC has been working with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Development (DFATD) and Canadian lobster exporters to ensure that the designation “Canadian Lobster” is allowed on packaging in all EU countries.  Currently Italy, Sweden and Germany are the only EU countries that require the word “American lobster” (a direct translation from Homarus Americanus) to be printed on packaging. All other EU countries now allow the name “Canadian lobster” to appear on packaging

Meanwhile, new European labelling rules that took effect on December 13th are resulting in many companies that export lobster to change their packaging. The LCC in conjunction with DFATD held a webinar on January 22 with Trade Commissioners from Paris and Brussels to explain rules and packaging requirements. Click here for a copy of the presentation.





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