PORTLAND, Maine — The Coronavirus health crisis in China is hitting the lobster industry in Canada.

The Canadian Maritime provinces, especially Nova Scotia, saw a major increase in exports of lobster to China after that country imposed high tariffs on U.S. lobster, hurting dealers in Maine, but Nova Scotia has become the major exporter of live lobster to Asia, but that is all being threatened, for the time being, by the virus. 

The director of the Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance said there have been far fewer cargo jet flights from Halifax to China than usual this week. Leo Muise of the Alliance said exporters have been told lobster sales in China have dropped dramatically because fear of the Coronavirus is causing people to stay home instead of going to restaurants.

An official at the Halifax Stanfield Airport said one of the cargo airlines that normally takes lobster shipments to China has lost those shipments, for the time being, canceling several flights per week. Leo Muise of the Seafood Alliance says dealers have facilities to keep the live lobsters until demand from China returns. 

He said, “there is no panic (in the business) at this point, but we are concerned.”

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