Nov. 20, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Seven companies and fishermen's associations from the lobster industries in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island recently returned from a two-week trade mission that is part of an 18-month market development strategy to promote frozen lobster products to China.
Industry and government representatives took part in meetings with key Chinese seafood buyers, and participated in the China Fisheries and Seafood Expo, the largest seafood show in Asia.
Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet; Keith Ashfield, minister of state for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA); and P.E.I. Minister of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development Neil LeClair announced an investment of more than $700,000 toward the strategy.
"To ensure a sustainable, viable and self-sufficient fishing and seafood-processing industry, it is essential that we focus our efforts on market diversification," said Doucet. "The 18-month market development plan being launched in partnership with ACOA and P.E.I. is innovative, and targets long-term solutions to the challenges being faced, in particular by our lobster industry. China is the world's largest consumer of fish and seafood. It is a market that represents opportunities for our seafood processors and great potential for exports from our province."
"The Government of Canada, through the Economic Action Plan, is taking steps to stimulate the economies of communities and industries hard hit by the economic slowdown," said Ashfield. "This important partnership will benefit our region by expanding opportunities for the lobster industry in both New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Through the investment of nearly $440,000 we are working with the lobster industry in New Brunswick and P.E.I. to develop new markets to respond to the changing economy. This is a great example of how we are working together to provide growth opportunities at home and throughout the global marketplace."
"China represents major opportunities for the Atlantic Canadian lobster industry, and I am pleased that government and industry are working together in this way to pursue those opportunities," said LeClair. "Expanding markets for lobster products is key to the strength and stability of the industry."
The investment will support the development and implementation of an 18-month comprehensive marketing strategy for the New Brunswick and P.E.I lobster industries, targeting both seafood buyers and consumers in the Chinese market. To accomplish this goal, participating Maritime seafood companies are working with market development specialists in government, and private consulting firms that specialize in the Chinese market.
Industry partners participating in the first of two missions include Pêcheries GEM Ltd.; LA Trading Inc.; Maritime Fishermen's Union; Moncton Fish Market; Connor Brothers Ltd.; Ocean Pride Fisheries Ltd.; and Mariner Seafood Inc.
The Government of Canada, through ACOA, is contributing $439,520 toward the project through the Community Adjustment Fund (CAF). Canada's Economic Action Plan provided a total of $1 billion over two years for CAF to support initiatives that help create and maintain jobs in communities affeccted by the economic downturn. Atlantic Canada's allocation of $100 million under CAF is administered by ACOA.
The provinces of New Brunswick and P.E.I. are investing through their departments of fisheries, with an investment from the private sector.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Katharine Sidenius, communications, Department of Fisheries, 506-457-3549; Erin Filliter, director of communications, Office of the Minister of State for ACOA, 613-941-7241; Paul C.J. LeBlanc, senior communications officer, ACOA New Brunswick, 506-452-3310; Wayne MacKinnon, Prince Edward Island Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development, 902-368-4888.