Buck-a-pound increase in price offset by lower catches

Eric McCarthy
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Lobster prices here are still considerably lower than in Nova Scotia

ALBERTON -- The president of the Western Gulf Fishermen’s Association admits being somewhat befuddled by this year’s lobster prices. Craig Avery is encouraged that the P.E.I. shore price has climbed a full dollar a pound since last year, but he can’t understand why prices paid to P.E.I. fishermen are 75 cents to a dollar a pound less than what their counterparts in Nova Scotia are receiving. 

P.E.I. fishermen are receiving $3.75 a pound for canners and $4.25 for markets, up from $2.75 and $3.25 a pound last spring. Nova Scotia fishermen, however, are said to be fetching $4.50 a pound for their canners and anywhere from $5.00 to $5.50 a pound for markets.

The President of the Nova Scotia Fish Packers Association, Nathan Blades, could not confirm the Nova Scotia shore prices, though, suggesting the price fluctuates. He declined to speculate on why shore prices might be so different in the two provinces.

Even with the increase in price over last year, Avery doubts if many fishermen are actually seeing an increase in their payments. That’s because many ports are reporting a drop in landings from last year. Avery said some fishermen are indicating their catches are off 50 per cent from last year. He estimates his landings are down 30 to 35 per cent.

A drop in landings of around 27 per cent is enough to offset the current price increase.

“Unless we get some awfully big catches for quite a stretch of time here, we’re going to have a hard time (catching up with last year’s landings),” Avery commented.

He indicated there appeared to be an upturn in landings on Tuesday and Wednesday, though, and suggested that might have been brought about by a two-degree increase in water temperature at the bottom.

“That kind of tells me there’s a good body of lobsters there,” he said.

Pointing out fishermen here are landing top quality lobster, Avery said he can not understand why there is such a difference in shore price between P.E.I. and Nova Scotia.

“We have beautiful quality markets here right now. It’s so cold out and the water is so cold; it’s just amazing the shape they’re in. It’s unbelievable,” he stated.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Fish Packers Association

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, P.E.I.

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