ALBERTON -- Lobster will get top billing at the P.E.I Fishermen’s Association’s annual meeting and workshops this weekend at the Rodd Royalty Hotel in Charlottetown.
The annual gathering typically attracts about 160 to 180 of the Island’s core fishermen, acknowledges PEIFA managing director Ian MacPherson.
Delegates will review the annual reports, including the financial statement and reports MacPherson and PEIFA president Mike McGeoghegan Friday afternoon.
There’s a banquet and entertainment on the agenda for Friday evening and then fishermen get to participate in five information sessions on Saturday morning, four of them dealing with the lobster fishery and one with the tuna fishery.
Aquatic Science consultant, Dr. Jean Lavallee will discuss lobster quality from a handling perspective. There will be an update on the work of the Lobster Council of Canada by Geoff Irvine; MacPherson will give a presentation on lobster branding and PEIFA marketing initiatives and the Province will discuss lobster research and other activities.
On tuna, fishermen will learn how the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ science section is able to gain valuable information on tuna from a cross-section of the giant fish’s inner ear bone, the otolith.
Lavallee said he will focus during his 30-minute presentation on what fishermen can do to maintain the quality of the lobsters they bring out of their traps.
“I think there are things that we can do that wouldn’t be that difficult that would make a difference in terms of quality,” Lavallee said. “Now, is that going to be 25 cents, or 50 cents, more next season? I don’t know. I don’t think so, but I think it will come over time. We need to be able to bring consistent quality to the market.”
Now, is that going to be 25 cents, or 50 cents, more next season? I don’t know. I don’t think so, but I think it will come over time. We need to be able to bring consistent quality to the market - Lobster researcher Dr. Jean Lavallee
Live wells, he said, if used properly, can help maintain quality, but the water needs to circulate constantly and should be at a temperature close to the bottom temperature.
Lavallee notes the quality is usually fine when the traps come up over the washboard. That might not be the case in a day or two. “It’s just exhaustion from trying to fight whatever stressors are there.”
MacPherson noted his presentation on a P.E.I. brand is based, in part, on maintaining the 72-millimeter carapace measure. He said there are some sales markets that would be lost of P.E.I. could not continue to supply them with canner lobsters.
Joint efforts between the PEIFA, P.E.I. Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development and Innovation P.E.I. are still underway to develop a P.E.I. brand, he said. He’s hoping to get a sense from members of how they want the partners to proceed with branding. He said they are interested in having some studies done to assess markets.
The idea, he said, is, “if it is a premium product and sold at a premium price that some of those proceeds get back to the harvesters.”