ALBERTON -- The time to act on two recently released reports on the Island and Maritime lobster fishery is now, says Mike McGeoghegan, president of the P.E.I Fishermen’s Association.
The P.E.I.F.A., on Thursday, released its official response to the Maritime Lobster Panel’s report, issued November 7, and the P.E.I. lobster report authored by former auditor general Colin Younker which was made public November 13.
The association indicated it will be asking Premier Robert Ghiz to utilize the Council of Atlantic Premiers as a forum for ensuring region-wide government leadership in addressing what it calls a lobster crisis.
“The lobster fishery has been devastated by low prices that see fishers earning 25 percent less than they did seven years ago while costs continue to rise,” McGeoghegan noted. “The twelve hundred fishers, their families and their communities can’t sustain this kind of economic hardship.”
McGeoghegan admitted the reports don’t answer all the questions, but suggested they are an important starting point in the discussions.
“Having carefully reviewed these two reports and met with their respective authors, the Association believes there are clearly areas of consensus where it is time for industry and governments to act,” the association noted in its response.
It supported the reports’ call for a legislative price-setting mechanism, establishment of a Maritime Market Intelligence Institute, implementation of a levy to support generic marketing and increased government and industry investment in new product development.
It’s support for the market intelligence institute is conditional on it having the authority to access cost of production data from fishermen and processors, and it issues a proviso on its support for a levy. The association wants the federal and provincial governments to match the fishermen’s contributions towards marketing.