Canadian lobster is a valuable commodity, with a global reach now that it has found a niche in Asia.
The removal of tariffs from seafood imports into the European Union from Canada will eventually open doors to our lobsters — live and frozen — to a multi-million-dollar marketplace.
The Americans are a bit leery, or jealous, of this move as their government tries to rid itself of international trade agreements like NAFTA and one with the European Community, in an effort to persuade their own citizens to buy products made in America.
Canada operates on a much more practical basis, choosing to widen export potential via bilateral trade deals like the one recently completed with the European Union.
The American lobster fishery cannot supply the demand from its own country, which depends on Canadian imports to fill the need. The Canadian live product is held in tanks and usually sold to American customers as ‘Maine Lobsters’, a fact which at times cannot be proven.
The ability of the American lobster industry to break into the European market in a big way is doubtful considering the threat of a 30 per cent import duty on product entering the U.S. by foreign states.
They cannot have it both ways.
Where there is big money to be made, the fraudsters are sure to be hovering around.
When Bluefin tuna became a valuable commodity due to the Japanese penchant for the raw product for sashimi, a number of individuals tried to bypass the legal access to this market.
Some were caught and paid a heavy price.
So, it is with lobsters.
We’ve heard during the past few months of crated lobsters being stolen from local wharves. But these thefts pale in comparison to what the RCMP found after an investigation, which began in 2015.
At that time, allegations were made that a Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia man had defrauded a Shelburne County lobster company of $175,000 during the previous fishing season.
While delving into this matter, the RCMP found similar allegations which saw a Clark’s Harbour company defrauded of over half a million dollars in 2014-2015.
Another Barrington company was defrauded of $500,000 and a Shelburne County company was defrauded by a whopping $1.7 million and another company from Taiwan defrauded of more than $250,000 — all this occurring in 2015-2016.
Three men have been arrested over the findings.
How big is the lobster fishery in Nova Scotia or Atlantic Canada?
In 2015, 82,700 tonnes were exported — mainly to the United States — brining in over two billion dollars in revenue.
There are 10,000 licensed enterprises in Quebec and Atlantic Canada employing over 30,000.
It is the mainstay of most coastal communities in Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and New Brunswick.
Measures must be undertaken to prohibit this sort of thing from happening again as it could damage our reputation as a country to do business with.
Tighter controls must be undertaken to ensure that buyers are on the up-and-up and must meet certain criteria before they are allowed to do business.
There was certainly a lack of due diligence in the matter just discussed.
On another issue, that underwater turbine set-up at the mouth of Minas Basis in the Bay of Fundy is having all sorts of problems.
It seems that the technology used by Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy or FORCE wasn’t strong enough to tackle the Fundy tides at that particular location.
The owners of the turbine have been trying to move the thing to a more hospitable location as the tides knocked this version for a loop, as was the first turbine set up at the site.
Local fishermen are opposed to the project because of a lack of studies to show the environmental impact such turbines could have on the area ecology and fish resource.
Recently, scarred herring and gaspereaux have been found in their weirs and they blame the turbines for the damage, but some are skeptical, although the turbine blades are still spinning at the bottom of the Basin.
They say vessel propellers could have done the scaring, but some fishermen are not convinced.
Tidal power, like wind energy, is very much in the long-term planning for renewable power sources for the province. If this one turbine can eventually work to everyone’s satisfaction, many more would be set up at this and other site along the Bay of Fundy shore.
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