Lobster levy vote still in bait form

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Fisheries Minister Ron MacKinley is wondering how long it will take before Island fishermen plan to proceed with a provincewide vote on whether to approve a lobster marketing levy.
The concept was well received last spring when details from the Maritime Lobster Panel recommended a one cent per pound levy for both fishermen and processors as a way to raise funds for marketing strategies.

Boats in Northport are piled high with traps as fishermen await Thursday's start of the spring lobster fishery.

Such a levy could generate up to $500,000 for lobster marketing initiatives here, if matched by processors and buyers.

"We've had the spring season come and go and we're coming up on the fall season now, which further delays this,'' MacKinley said.

"I'm wondering how long they expect to take...I would have thought it might have been done this summer."

About 75 per cent of north shore fishermen (LFA 24) have already voted in favour of a levy, leaving LFA 25 and 26A still to cast ballots.

MacKinley said with the fall lobster fishery pending (LFA 25) in western P.E.I., it will now push the levy decision back even later into the year - possibly before Christmas.

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