July 28, 2014 1:13 pm

N.S. fishermen groups surprised by 5-cent levy proposal for lobster

FILE-In this undated file photo, a sternman holds a lobster caught off South Bristol, Maine.

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File

HALIFAX – A couple of fishing groups in Nova Scotia say they weren’t consulted about the provincial government’s proposal to add a levy of five cents per pound of lobster.

Fisheries Minister Keith Colwell said last week that the government is preparing legislation to be introduced in the fall that would allow it to collect the five-cent levy – three cents more than what a report recommended last year.

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A three-member panel that reviewed the lobster industry proposed a two-cent levy, with one cent cent coming from fishermen and the other from buyers and processors.

Ashton Spinney of the L-34 Management Board in southwestern Nova Scotia says there’s been no consultation with fishermen about the government’s levy proposal.

Spinney says it’s hard to comment on the government’s idea when he doesn’t know its intent, adding that he isn’t sure what Colwell meant when he said that three cents from the levy will go to quality assurance.

Bernie MacDonald, manager of the Ceilidh Fishermen Co-op in Cape Breton, says he also didn’t know about the higher levy and adds there could be opposition from fishermen if the province moves ahead with it.

© 2014 The Canadian Press

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