The Lobster Council of Canada has agreed to begin working on establishing a quality standard system and a branding program for Canadian lobster.
These two initiatives are part of the recommendations brought forward following a series of industry working groups that have been meeting throughout 2012. These groups have focused attention on three key pillars of action for the Canadian lobster industry: quality, price and brand.
The decision to develop these programs was agreed to during a meeting that was held in Cheticamp.
“We have turned the page from talking about solutions to actually committing to action,” said lobster council chairman Leonard LeBlanc, who is a lobster harvester from LFA26b. “As a group we have achieved the first step to modernizing the lobster industry and I believe that this is a giant leap forward for the lobster industry in Canada.”
The Lobster Council will establish two task groups to work with the lobster industry on these initiatives and is looking forward to engaging with the sector during the coming months.
There was wide agreement at the Cheticamp meeting amongst speakers and participants that a quality standard system is the foundation to creating value in the market. In a news release the council says that greater value in the market leads to greater margins throughout the supply chain.
According to the council virtually every other fishery sector in Canada operates with a quality based grading system. It says the lack of separation in the lobster industry results in consumers who are uncertain of the quality of the product they are paying for and who therefore pay lower prices.
Rolled out over time with the support of the lobster industry, this plan would establish verifiable quality standards that would strengthen the Canadian brand.
“We are about to embark upon some exciting changes in the lobster sector. These initiatives should take us to where we need to be in terms of rewarding quality and marketing value,” said Stewart Lamont of Tangier Lobster. “A Canadian lobster sector that is branded and quality-based will lead to better pricing. And solving the price challenge is top on everyone’s list.”
Delegates at the Cheticamp meeting were also unanimous in their support of the establishment of a Canadian lobster brand, supported by a strong industry structure, based on brand pillars such as sustainability, pristine environment, and quality that could be promoted and supported by the lobster sector.
While this process has involved members of the harvesting, processing, live shipping and buying sectors, the next step involves extensive communication of the options available to the lobster sector at large.
The lobster council will also work closely with federal and provincial governments to align government policy with these industry priorities.