By Greg Bennett
The Coast Guard
The executive of a local fisheries group was anxiously awaiting the results of a feasibility study into a construction of a lobster processing plant owned by the community and fishermen.
In a letter to its members the 1688 Professional Lobster Fishermen Association wrote that the plant would be “one way we feel we can take back control over our industry.”
Once the feasibility study is complete, 1688 president James Mood said a business plan would need to be drafted and taken to government and potential investors.
Although in the beginning stages, Mood offered an ambitious hope that a new plant could be up and running in time to take part in the 2013-14 lobster season.
He noted that by selling directly to markets with a focus on value-added lobsters, fishermen stood to make a profit through selling lobsters and through an investment in the plant.
Members have gone as far as investigating potential sites in the Municipality of Barrington for a future processing plant.
“That’s another process,” said Mood, noting that municipally owned land at Forbes Point might be one area the group could consider.
Through some government assistance, a long-term mortgage on facilities and with the help of fishermen and investors, Mood said the proposal could see a state of the art processing facility completed in a short time.
While not ruling out purchasing lobsters from dealers, Mood said the proposed plant would target purchases directly from fishermen, By eliminating trucking and “middlemen” costs, Mood said a local plant should be able to offer fishermen more for lobsters than the market rate.
He also suggested, that if successful, similar “wealth sharing” plants could be built in communities in western Nova Scotia.