Improvement seen in fall lobster prices

But still behind spring season

Eric McCarthy newsroom@journalpioneer.com
Published on August 19, 2014
A lobster boat sails between trap lines just offshore in West Cape on Monday. Initial catches are said to be strong for fall lobster fishermen. The season opened Friday.
Eric McCarthy/Journal Pioneer

ALBERTON -- Even though there has been a marked improvement from last year, a Howard’s Cove fisherman says fall canner prices are still about a quarter, and market prices about 50 cents, below where he expected them to start out.

The price most quoted by P.E.I. fall fishermen is $3.25 a pound for canners and $3.50 for markets. That’s about 75 cents a pound better than what fall lobsters fetched last year, but about 50 cents less a pound for canners and 75 cents less for markets than what spring fishermen fetched this year

“I really wish we could get another quarter,” said Bernard Reilly; “it would have been the next step (towards bringing the price back up to where it needs to be).”

Although his catch starting out is “down quite a bit,” Reilly stresses the season is not a dud. He admitted poor weather conditions at the start might have been a factor, leaving hope that catches will not drop off as sharply as they normally do.

Cape Egmont fisherman, Alcide Arsenault suggested fishermen in his area are generally satisfied with the landings. He said they’ve been increasing over the past four years and are a big step up from 2004 when he landed a mere 2,400 pounds for the whole season. Catches so far this year, he suggested, are about the same as to this point last year.

Further north, Miminegash fisherman David Ellsworth had a different view. “They’re awfully spotty,” he said. Ellsworth believes his landings are not up with last year’s pace.

Reilly recalls when the market price was a dollar more than canners. Then the difference dropped to 50 cents and now it’s halved again. “That’s a terrible insult,” he said. “I don’t like it at all.”