Lobster frenzy brings wealth to Halifax, Canada

Published: Saturday, March 18, 2017

With just over 400,000 residents ,Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada is a small city compared to other places in the world. But thanks to its abundant supply of wild lobsters , this city in so-called Atlantic Canada made up of the maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, is enjoying prosperity and much popularity globally.

Collectively, the provinces hold grip to a $5 billion lobster industry, shipping the fresh crustaceans mainly to the EU, China, Japan, Korea and elsewhere in the world. Because they must be brought to their destinations fresh and alive, the lobsters have to be transported via air cargo instead of a ship.
They are neatly packed in containers with special gel packs that keep their temperature at 4 to 5 degrees centigrade to ensure that they arrive fresh for the next 48 hours from Canada to their final destinations.

A.M Lyall, air service cargo sales manager at Hali fax Stanfield International Airport, told Air Cargo Update in an interview in Paris during the sidelines of the Air Cargo Forum 2016, their airport handled 32,000 tons of cargo last year, mostly involving live lobsters.

“We did about 32,000 tons of cargo at the airport. It’s small in comparison to others but we have a tremendous commodity the fresh live caught lobster which is a $5 billion industry within Atlantic Canada, which is comprised of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. We have a tremendous commodity that we export all over the world, the lobster,” Lyall said.
Lyall even hand-carried live lobsters
in Paris from Halifax, to be shared
with people who visited the booth of
South Korea’s Incheon International
Airport, Halifax airport’s business
partner in shipping the crustaceans all
over Asia.

“I carried 15 pound and a half of live
lobsters. Incheon International
Airport wanted to have a culinary
event and highlight Korean cuisine so
we really need to have lobsters on the
menu,” said Lyall who was picked up
by a limousine upon his arrival in Paris
en route to the chef’s restaurant
where the lobster sandwich with a
Korean twist was prepared.
“It was the least we could do. It’s an
honor for us,” he added.

Growing Demand

The demand for fresh lobsters is high
in Europe, especially in Belgium, but
Lyall said China’s new rich is also
clamoring for more, especially during
wedding season as the crustaceans
are regarded to bring Chinese good

Lyall said Alibaba is even taking
orders from Chinese to buy Halifax
lobsters which to Canadians is mindboggling
because of the freshness

“Four to five years ago, the growing
middle class in China has discovered
our lobsters and the demand is there.
As we speak, Alibaba got a 70,000 lbs
order for lobsters in Halifax,” he said.
A holding facility I n Shanghai capable
of storing 250,000 tons of seafood
and other perishables had since been

Lyall said Korean Air flies a 777 or 747
once a week in Nova Scotia to meet the demand for lobsters in China and
elsewhere in Asia.

The airline has connecting flights to
nine different stations in Asia which
include Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou,
Singapore, Dalian and Osaka.

Economic boom

Back in Halifax, residents continue to
nurture the industry which had made
their place prosperous and famous.
The lobsters are free for all to be
caught. The government issues a
number tag to each harvester. The
tags are attached to the lobster
traps which are placed on the
ocean to harvest the crustaceans.

At least two Chinese-owned
packing and processing plants had
since been opened last year in
Halifax. And both ship their
products via the Halifax airport.

This year a new $5 million cargo
pad at Stanfield international
airport to accommodate new
cargo planes flying lobster by the
ton out of Halifax was opened.
The industry got a further boost with
the ratification of the Comprehensive
Economic and Trade Agreement
(CETA) that eliminates or cuts certain
tariffs for seafood products exported
to the EU.

The Canadian government also
reduced export tariffs to China to
further bolster trade between the