© TC Media photo by Ryan Cooke
Lobster traps sit on a Prince Edward Island wharf, prior to the beginning of the fall lobster season. Low prices continue to plague the industry. A report will be released Thursday on the state of the industry.
SKINNERS POND -- Prices currently being paid to Prince Edward Island fall lobster fishermen are very similar to what they received 25 years ago, the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association noted Friday.
The association and fall lobster harvesters are expressing curiosity over the lack of upward movement on price despite the fact that landings have tapered off significantly and no buyers have imposed boat quotas this fall.
Island fishermen are receiving $2.50 a pound for canners and $2.75 a pound for markets, which is the same as what they were paid last fall and a quarter less than their spring counterparts received this year.
The association points to several situations which only add to its curiosity: landings down in many areas from last year, much less product being imported from Maine and a reduction in plant capacity in New Brunswick and P.E.I., and recent export reports showing frozen lobster shipments up 40 per cent over last year.
“I can’t see can’t see why the industry can’t handle $3.25 and $3.50 (per pound),” said Prince County Fishermen’s Association president, Lee Knox who argues the situation has changed considerably since last year and even the spring. “As quick as it’s processed it’s going out the door,” he said in reference to product movement.
Many fall fishermen have lost four days of fishing due to poor weather.
PEIFA managing director Ian MacPherson said the industry is eagerly awaiting the results of two independent studies into the east coast lobster industry which are due out within two months. He said the association and the province are also continuing to look for ways to help push the price up to sustainable levels.
Buyers, Knox argues, can help the industry survive. “They’ve got to put the shore price back up to where fishermen can make a living,” he said.