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Maritimes fisheries ministers meeting to combat slump in lobster prices

Frozen lobsters wait to be packed for shipping in Tignish, P.E.I.

NATHAN ROCHFORD/The Globe and Mail

Fisheries ministers from the three Maritime provinces have agreed to meet in March to discuss the future of the lobster industry.

The meeting will be held March 26 and 27 and will focus on recommendations made by an independent panel the provinces created to combat slumping lobster prices.

It called for a levy on each pound of lobster caught to pay for a marketing campaign aimed at boosting the fishery's profile.

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The panel estimated the levy would raise about $2.5-million a year.

Its report also said that fishermen and the various processing and buying groups lack information, concentrate on quantity over quality, and don't co-operate with each other.

As a result, it concluded Canadian fishermen have been losing market share to better-organized competitors in Maine.

The Nova Scotia government says since the report was presented in November, ministers from the three provinces have held meetings where panel members briefed those involved in the industry.

The meeting in March is being organized by the Lobster Council of Canada and will also include representatives from Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec.

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