To the editor,
The spring session of the Legislature is well on its way. I have been busy establishing relationships and searching for common ground on issues important to us here in Pictou County.
One subject on a lot of minds is the lobster fishery. Pictou East understands the value of the lobster fishery to our community. The fisheries contributed over $1 billion to our provincial economy. Lobster, the largest single species, contributed $400 million of that total.
Here in Pictou East, we know that a hard day’s work deserves an honest pay, and that is why many of us followed the fleet tie up last year as the fishermen spoke against low shore prices. The government responded by establishing a "Lobster Panel" to consider ways to help improve the industry. The Panel returned 33 recommendations that can improve the value of the lobster fishery to our economy.
Improving our economy benefits us all. We need our fisherman here, working here and living here, because when our friends and neighbours do better, we all do better. The reason I organized a meeting of the local lobster licence holders and invited the provincial fisheries minister is because I know that we need to work together to help improve the industry. In order to represent people, you need to hear them and understand their concerns and the meeting was my way of making sure that they were being heard. I am interested in working with the community to help solve the issues facing this important industry.
We are proud of the product we produce and want to ensure others can enjoy it with us. One of the things that we as elected officials heard loud and clear from the fishermen was that they want to move forward with a per pound levy. This would have the fishers and buyers pay a levy into a fund. The fund would then be used to better market the premium lobster product.
There are lots of things in our community to be proud of. Yes, there are challenges, but we have many opportunities as well. Working together, we can make things better and I will always put my constituents first.
I am looking forward to a productive, safe fishing season.
MLA, Pictou East