Lobster Buyers Coalition Wants Feds To Permit Them To Make Loans To Fishermen

Posted on Monday, October 30, 2017 12:35 PM

A newly formed coalition of lobster buyers wants the federal government to permit them to make loans to fishermen.

The Western Nova Scotia Lobster Dealers Coalition is looking at South Western Nova Scotia to test its proposal, if it's ever given the green light.

Robert Thibault is a consultant with the coalition and a former federal fisheries minister.

He says they want to find a way to maintain the Department of Fisheries and Oceans stated objective of the independence of the fishery but provide reasonable security of supply to the fish dealers, processors and marketing sector.

"And access to capital for entry into the fisheries for young people wishing to get in. We looked at how we could have a legitimate way. I did a little bit of research looking at what was happening in other industries and how it could be done. This is the suggestion we've come up with."

Thibault says it would be legal, binding and transparent.

"I thinks there's good potential here because it protects the independence of the sector, gives them access to capital, gives security of supply. It's quite consistent with what has happened informally for over 100 years. It would be in a contractual manner that would be legal, that would be binding that would be part of the balance sheet of the dealing sector. It wouldn't be back room deal."

It hasn't been presented to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans yet.

Dominic LeBlanc has promised to enshrine owner-operator and fleet separation policies into law to protect against so-called controlling agreements.

Thibault says everything is still at the preliminary stage and he has to meet further with stakeholders to see if modifications to the proposal need to be made.