Canadian lobster producers innovate to improve business

February 18, 2013, 4:39 pm

Undercurrent News

Lobster fishermen on the Atlantic coast of Canada are encouraging local businesses to join a project designed to market lobster consumption with a promotional publication.

Lobster catches have been yielding as little as CAD3.25 per pound, leading to industry experts setting up All Boats Rise with the Tide, an annual industry publication that’s full of thousands of dollars of savings.

The publication will offer coupons from participating companies that will encourage people to shop locally, in the hope of changing not just the lobster industry but Atlantic Canada’s economy, co-founder Patrick Swim told The Business Herald.

“It’s a value-proposition to people in the industry to become a part of the membership and work together, pulling in one direction positively,” Swim said.

“It’s our first call to action for businesses to get behind this industry and help usher in an era of ‘lobsterpreneurship’ among Atlantic Canadian businesses.”

The first print run of the publication will see more than 10,000 copies reach industry stakeholders in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, with other strategies also planned.

One company, Canadian Atlantic Lobster, is organizing itself as a co-operative, intending to use annual membership fees to market, brand and support the Atlantic Canadian lobster industry worldwide.

Using fair trade coffee and Kobe beef as benchmarks, the group is developing industry standards for fair trade lobster so only the best, high-quality lobster make it to market as a premium product, commanding a higher price.

“We have the Mercedes Benz of lobster in Atlantic Canada and we need to approach this as a united front to market it that way,” Swim said.

“Just 50 cents per pound more to the fishermen would be $70 million back in to the East Coast economy. Imagine $1.00 more.”

Although still in consultation with fishermen and stakeholders, the group has developed other marketing strategies, such as lobster claw bands and tags featuring a quick-response or QR code and the web address, designed to make buyers aware of provenance.

Swim and his counterparts are among the dozens of local entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to Dragons’ Den producers Saturday in Halifax, Nova Scotia.