Provincial Fisheries minister Alan McIsaac told members of the Prince County Fishermen’s Association on Monday that the Island’s fishing industry is one of the shining reasons why the province will balance its budget, or show a slight surplus, this year.
McIsaac said the lobster fishery alone produced landings of 36.4 million pounds and a landed value of $226 million in 2017.
“You fellows are the ones that are making the economy go and helping us to balance the books.”
Fishing and farming are the Island’s biggest industries, he acknowledged. “Everybody deserves to get a pat on the back, and congratulations, for that.”
PCFA president Lee Knox reviewed with the approximately 130 people, including 115 members, in attendance some of the stats for the year which included a nine per cent increase in the fall lobster landings over the previous year. He said the landings were down slightly in the northern end of the district but up to the south.
But the value would have been higher if fall prices stayed in line with the spring fishery. He said the $4.00 per pound for canners and $4.50 for markets was down from the spring season and a dollar to a dollar and a half per pound lower than what the PCFA was anticipating. He noted price adjustments since the season ended resulted in some fishermen receiving $4.60 a pound for canners and $5.20 a pound for markets.
Knox reported the future looks bright for the lobster fishery. He said experimental traps set in July provided the highest numbers of small lobsters ever recorded. He said that bodes well for recruitment going forward
Reporting on other species, Knox said snow crab quota was up 100 per cent and the price was also up. Commercial fishermen whose names were drawn for the snow crab lottery got the highest prices ever paid for that allocation, between $45,00 and $46,500 each, he reported. The scallop fishery had higher than normal prices and fishermen are awaiting compensation cheques from Maritime Electric for being kept off of Borden area scallop beds while submarine cables were being laid last summer.
Knox said the rock crab fishery was good, but largely Borden-based.
There were some disappointments, though. Landings for herring and mackerel were down, and an Atlantic Canada working group has been formed to seek ways to helping the mackerel fishery rebound.