TIGNISH -- Although lobster landings are up again this year, the president of the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association says his members are not seeing the benefits.
The number that stands out for Mike McGeoghegan is the $22 million drop in landed value for Island lobster this year in comparison to 2012.
Landings this year, according to provincial statistics, crept up 5.6 per cent over last year, coming in at 28,768,817 pounds, but the landed value shrank back to $91,385,246 from $113,756,871.
Prices, McGeoghegan said, are back to pre-1988 levels.
When value-added processing and everything else is factored in, McGeoghegan estimates the Island economy lost close to $80 million this year because of low shore prices.
On top of that, he stressed, fishermen are not making the money needed to reinvest into the economy.
“Pretty well all the boats and engines, everything on the south side of Prince Edward Island, needs to be replaced,” he said. “There’s about $100 million worth of equipment that has to be purchased, and would be purchased if the price of lobster were up.
“So, they’re sitting on old boats with old electronics, old engines, old equipment and old trucks. Fishermen want to spend, but they just don’t have the resources right now to do that, and that’s just basic stuff to keep up so you can keep fishing. There are no extras.”
McGeoghegan is holding out hope the report from the Maritime Lobster Panel, which is due out next week, will contain recommendations that will help boost the prices.
While hesuspects there may be recommendations for slowdowns in fishing activity, he doesn’t think quotas will be mentioned. “Without the Americans coming on board, I don’t think quota is an option,” he said.
The whole marketing of lobsters needs to be looked at, he suggested.