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April 12, 2013
For immediate release

Report confirms economic value of canner lobster industry

Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development

A report commissioned by Prince Edward Island’s seafood industry with the support of the provincial government and the Prince Edward Island Atlantic Shrimp Corporation confirms the economic importance of canner lobster to the economy and advises against further increases to carapace size, says Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development Minister Ron MacKinley.

“The report shows that canner lobsters are the backbone of the fishing industry, creating jobs and economic spin-off,” said Minister MacKinley. “Any change to the carapace size will be devastating to the province.”

The report, PEI Lobster Industry: Strategic Importance, Economic Relevance, and Uniqueness of PEI’s Canner Product, was commissioned after New Brunswick’s lobster industry lobbied the federal government to have the carapace size increased beyond the current 72 millimeters.

The Prince Edward Island Seafood Processors Association commissioned the study in conjunction with the Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association, the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island, and the Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development.

According to the report, a change in carapace size would hurt the entire economy as canner lobsters alone create an annual GDP of $78.7 million and generate $20 million in tax revenues.

More than 80 per cent of canner lobsters caught in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is landed on Prince Edward Island, and the majority of the catch is processed in the province.

“The Prince Edward Island processing industry has developed strong niche markets for canner lobsters,” said Jeff Malloy, president of the Prince Edward Island Seafood Processors Association. “Our business model is different than New Brunswick’s and decisions by Fisheries and Oceans Canada should not favour one model over another.”

“We have worked closely with industry to respond to consumer demand for a high-quality smaller lobster and we have diversified markets for canner lobsters in Canada, Europe and Asia,” said the Minister. “The U.S. continues to be an important market as well.”

“I will be following up with Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield to discuss the findings of this report and reaffirm the united Prince Edward Island position of no change beyond the 72 millimeter mark,” the Minister said.

Media Contact: Kim Devine
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