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Nova Scotia sees downturn in lobster exports to China due to coronavirus

Click to play video: 'Lobster industry taking a hit over coronavirus' Lobster industry taking a hit over coronavirus
WATCH: A billion-dollar industry in Nova Scotia may be taking a hit due to fears over the coronavirus. Alexa MacLean reports. – Jan 29, 2020

Nova Scotia’s fisheries minister is describing a sudden downturn in lobster exports to China because of the new coronavirus as a “temporary blip.”

Keith Colwell says it’s still too early to say how long the disruption will last, so the province is talking to people in the industry about temporary contingency plans.

READ MORE: WHO to meet again to determine whether new coronavirus is an international emergency

Chinese authorities have not banned imports from Nova Scotia, however markets have dried up this week because of the country’s internal efforts to halt the spread of the new virus.

In the meantime, Colwell says the Nova Scotia lobster industry is better positioned to ride out the market loss because of work that has been done to target other markets in Asia and Europe.

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He also notes the timing isn’t bad since many Nova Scotia lobster fishermen curtail their work during February and March because of bad and unpredictable weather.

READ MORE: Ottawa secures plane to evacuate Canadians from China, warns against all travel to country

Still, Colwell says it’s never a good time when the province stops shipping any of its export products.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 29, 2020.

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