P.E.I. delegation walks out of lobster talks with New Brunswick

Eric McCarthy
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Lobter Fishing
Submitted by Sherry Champion from Malpeque, Prince Edward Island Canada

Lobster Fishing off Malpegue

ALBERTON – A Prince Edward Island lobster fisherman delegation stormed out of a meeting in Moncton Wednesday at which the Maritime Fishermen’s Union pressed its case to move the minimum carapace size to 77 millimeters.

“There’s no way that we’re prepared to go to 77. It’s not wise, or feasible, or financially profitable for P.E.I. to go there,” an annoyed-sounding Mike McGeoghegan, president of the Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association, said in a phone interview Wednesday as the delegation was en route back to P.E.I.

The MFU had a consultant in attendance to back its case for the increases and McGeoghegan was miffed about that.

“They only gave us two days notice on this (meeting). We knew the meeting was coming, but we didn’t have a criteria, and we didn’t know they were going to have a consultant there.

“I’m not pleased with the way it went down,” he said.

“They came at us way too hard. We thought it was going to be a discussion. We were going to sit down, put some real good ideas on the table, look at the quality, look at the markets, but it wasn’t like that.”

He said the Island delegation walked out following the MFU presentation and after a February 6 date was set for a P.E.I. response.

“We’re going to come back home here and get our ducks in line and go over all the numbers they gave us. We don’t trust any of the information they gave us. We are going to go back, look at it and draw up a brief and, February 6, we are going to bring it back to them,” he said.

The carapace measure increases by one millimeter to 72 millimeters this year. That’s as far as P.E.I. fishermen want to go, fearing further increases will eat away at their niche market for canner lobsters.

“They seem to have their mind made up, and that’s fine, but they don’t need to be pulling us in on it,” Mike McGeoghegan, President PEIFA

The MFU is pushing to go to 73 next year and to keep climbing until the minimum measure hits 77.

“They have no scientific data on that and they have no economic impact study on that, so there’s no reason for us to go,” McGeoghegan insisted. “If they go into that, they’re going into that large market lobster and that’s a big market. Why would we jump in with everybody else when we have a niche market for our canners here on P.E.I.?”

Reminded of a Globe in Mail article Wednesday in which an MFU member points to Red Lobster’s requirement for four-once minimum lobster tails, when 72 mm lobsters would only produce two to three-ounce tails, McGeoghegn shot back that Red Lobster does not run the lobster industry. He insisted the restaurant chain’s preference can still be met without increasing the minimum size.

“They seem to have their mind made up, and that’s fine, but they don’t need to be pulling us in on it,” McGeoghegan said of the New Brunswick position.

“‘We’re going to 77 and you’re coming with us whether you like it or not,’” he said in paraphrasing what he took to be the New Brunswick position. “That’s the wrong way to do this. I’m against that, and that’s why, at the last of it, we decided to leave them there until we come home and look at all of the information.”



Organizations: Red Lobster

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, P.E.I., New Brunswick Moncton Maritime Fishermen

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Recent comments

  • bruce martin
    January 24, 2013 - 20:59

    maybe the market is plugged but the stocks are doing fine as is illustrated by the catches.new brunswick wants to see canners go because most of their markets are tails and meat and lobsters are cheaper from u.s. which has no canners and they can purchase less lobster from locals which is usually a bit more expensive.

  • island fisherman
    January 24, 2013 - 20:27

    I think I'm going to be sick, only fishing markets will drive down our price of lobster even more then they are now. Nova Scotia fishes all markets and got 3.25 for them at the start of the season. No body wants a 2 pound lobster on their plate, canners are the only way we can stay differant from everyone else. The market for canners Is very strong around the world, just a better eating lobster. The fisherman better stay together on this one or our fishery Is down the shit can.

  • What?
    January 24, 2013 - 11:18

    Oh young fisherman you have made no sense. I have read your post a few times and I am still confused. If you do happen to catch 30,000 pounds and congratulations if you do you are also assuming that the price will be better. Do you really think for a second that if PEI is the only place that has canner lobster that stopping catching them will increase the price that much? NS is getting $4.25 right now and they only fish markets when noone else is fishing. Lets try this math. You have 30,000 pounds, half canners, half markets. At $2.50 and $2.75 that is $78,750. Or you can get $4.50for just markets and make $67,500. Your choice I guess.

  • Faulty Math
    January 24, 2013 - 09:09

    @YoungFisherman. You need to work on your logic. If you catch 30,000 lobster in a season, they won't all be markets, the majority will be canners. If they move to 77mm, the total number of lobster caught per season will be less since you will be throwing back most of your catch. You will bring in less of a catch, and therefore less money. Right now it's barely worth the diesel fuel to go out everyday, this will make it worse.

  • Young fisherman
    January 23, 2013 - 21:02

    I think it's a great idea why not put it up think about the future not two years down the road and why not GED rid of the canner lobster if the people can't get a canner lobster it doesn't mean they're not going to buy any lobsters there going to buy bigger ones and another thing if you catch 30000 lobsters in a season that weigh .75 lb per lobster that's 22500 lbs per season compared to a bigger lobster averaging 1.10 lbs per lobsters is 33000 lbs do the math mike

  • Trendwatcher
    January 23, 2013 - 20:05

    Mike It's an age old battle, as you know, between PEI & NB fishermen on carapace size. There is no biological evidence for the need for further minimum carapace size increases. For whatever reason, lobster stocks are extremely healthy The agenda for carapace size increase is market driven. The lobster industry, as all the rest of society, must make crucial decisions based on evidence, on science, to protect stocks. not on markets, or E.I., or other agendas which are made popular without regards to science, to proof. The Tea Party in the U.S., and political parties in our own country, make policy decisions based on what makes voters feel good, regardless of proof. Society must do better than that.