FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following statement was issued today by Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Michael Olscamp:

I wish to clarify erroneous statements regarding compensation to lobster fishers reported over the past weekend.  No commitments, such as a radio report of $5,000 per fisher, have been made by the provincial government. We will continue to negotiate with all related parties as long as processing plants are allowed to open Tuesday morning.  The processing sector has agreed to make sure all fish harvesters in New Brunswick are able to sell their catch locally.

The Minister also gave an update about various provincial government activities related to the lobster industry:

The provincial government supports the New Brunswick lobster industry in research and development of new markets.

Our government has participated in the funding of an impact assessment on lobster conservation measures and a study on the value chain structure.

We have invested $11 million in a major restructuring of the lobster fleet. This investment has led to an innovative solution to promote economic viability and the long-term sustainability of the industry.

We are working with lobster industry partners on developing new products and new markets, particularly in China and Asia.

We are in discussions with the federal government to improve our access to European markets through the elimination of tariffs.

This year, we are holding a series of training sessions on lobster quality for around 200 fishers, processors and buyers.

Our government has little influence over lobster prices, which depend on several factors, which include the dynamic between fishers, processing plants and clients; product supply and demand; the surprising increase in lobster catches during the past few years in Canada and the United States; the warming of the sea, which affects the moulting cycle of lobster and results in more soft lobster; the weak global economy; and the strong Canadian dollar.