ALBERTON -- Final details are being ironed out prior to the launch of a P.E.I. Fishermen’s Brand lobster product.
“We’re interested in a niche market that will pay a premium for this type of product,” said P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association executive director, Ian MacPherson.
A fishermen’s brand, MacPherson explained, is very similar in concept to Fair Trade coffee. “It’s not for everyone, but there’s a sector of the market that wants to make sure that a higher percentage of any return is going back to the primary harvester,” he said.
The association is banking on good uptake for its product. This year it has made arrangements for Royal Star in Tignish to package the product for a buyer in France, but MacPherson said there’s nothing stopping other processors form getting in on the action in the future. The product, he said, would have to be processed and packaged to strict guidelines.
“At the end of the day we want this to be a win-win for P.E.I.,” he said, adding the intent is to put a portion of the profit back into marketing the Fishermen’s Brand.
P.E.I., MacPherson said, already has good branding programs for such products as beef and mussels. He sees no reason why a P.E.I. Fishermen’s Brand lobster product would not also win acceptance.
This initiative, he said, is separate from industry plans for a levy to market Maritime or Atlantic Canada lobster.
“We’re keeping (marketing levy and Fishermen’s Brand lobster) as separate programs at this point,” MacPherson said, “but we feel it is important to do something for our members, our membership, in terms of getting more involved in other aspects of the industry. We think this is a great opportunity.”
The premium product will go into established packaging this year but with a sticker identifying it as a P.E.I. Fishermen’s Brand product. New packaging is likely by next year.
MacPherson said the association is hoping both the spring and fall lobster fisheries can benefit from the initiative this year.