ALBERTON -- A better job needs to be done of marketing Canadian lobster overseas, especially in places like China, suggests Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association managing director Ian MacPherson.
MacPherson said Canadian lobster is generally viewed and promoted in China as Boston lobster. That, he admits might have something to do with the lobster’s scientific name, Homarus americanus, or American lobster.
“As Canada and P.E.I, we need to get over there and differentiate and change some of those perceptions.,” MacPherson suggested.
The PEI Fishermen’s Association has ramped up its promotional activities this year with several initiatives directed specifically at visitors to P.E.I., but MacPherson admits more work still has to be done across Canada and internationally.
But he doesn’t believe the P.E.I. industry can, nor should, do it all. “I don’t know if there is any other fishing organization that’s involved as much as we are in terms of trying to promote our industry,” he said.
He admits the industry here might soon have to play catch-up with the industry in Maine which recently endorsed a check-off system that will provide for $3 million in marketing dollars annually.
There have been efforts to set up a similar system through the Lobster Council of Canada, but with mixed results.
“Should money be put towards marketing and promotion? I don’t think that’s the debate; I think it’s where’s the best use of that money and how best to generate it,” MacPherson reflected.
“And to be fair to the LCC, Maine is one state,” he stressed, pointing out it is difficult to pull together a program that suits five Canadian provinces that have subtle differences in their fisheries.
Among the initiatives the PEIFA has undertaken to promote P.E.I. lobster is its sponsorship of this weekend. All riders will be sporting race jerseys prominently featuring a lobster graphic. Participants will also be treated to a lobster banquet.
The PEIFA has also signed on as a sponsor of the P.E.I. Shellfish Festival and, with Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development, recently sponsored a lobster contest with the Food Network and P.E.I. Flavours.
Other activities include a Lobster Party on the Beach happening at Cedar Dunes Provincial Park on September 8 during the P.E.I. Fall Flavours Festival.
There’s a Taste P.E.I. Lobster photo contest taking place until September 30 for a chance to win an Ipad.
Other activities include a Taste Wild P.E,I. Lobster promotional campaign at Charlottetown Airport, brochures on the same theme at fish shops and cruise ship ports, promotions at various festivals and a revamping of the PEIFA website to include lobster recipes and information on cooking lobsters.