Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lobster Industry In A State Of Crises

Lobster continues to be a serious issue on the Magdalen Islands!

The Magdalen Islands fishermen are to be paid five cents more per pound for their catch this week, but that is leaving the buyers in an unhappy state. The problem is not so much the price but the fact that the buyers can not easily find markets for their product and the many of the precious lobster are dying before they reach their destinations. Dead lobster does not help anyone.

The Quebec government started and advertising campaign early in May, within the province, with the slogan "Crack me open, I turn red!". However, it does not appear to be doing much good. Grosse Ile pound seems to be selling all the lobster they get in, but if the buyers can't re-sell the product quickly, then trouble is closer then the horizon, even for here.

Leonard Poirier from the Lobster Fishermen's Association for the Madalen Islands (l'Association des pecheurs proprietaires des Iles-de-la-Madeleine) is one of the members who has gone to Ottawa this week, to be a voice of reason for Quebec fishermen and for the 10,000 some odd fishermen of the Atlantic, their 25,000 helpers and the 25,000 lobster factory workers transforming the product (numbers are approximated). He denounced the the efforts of the governments, saying that they are not putting enough into the billion dollar industry, where the aide is needed. On May 22nd, Ottawa announced an offer of ten million dollars set aside for the fishermen of the Atlantic coast and Quebec to help in promoting their catches and bringing them to market.

The director of the Fisherman's Association will plead the cause of all Quebec fishermen today, May 26th, before the federal governments Fisheries and Ocean's Committee. Mr. Poirier believes that it will take sort term funding to cover a part of the costs of production for the fishing businesses. The money set aside to help the industry is not a solution for the immediate problem, as far as the fishermen are concerned. The proble right now is that there are not enough markets for the live lobster and this causes a risk fo general failure for the lobster fishery.

The three requests that were made to Ottawa by the fishing associations of Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces were basically all refused by the federal government.

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