Product of P.E.I., straight from the sea

Peter Corbett
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The branding of P.E.I. seafood would not only allow Island fishers and seafood handlers to take their futures into their own hands, it would also benefit all residents of P.E.I.
So says Eric Wagner, an Ellerslie area lobster fisherman of 25 years, who adds it only makes sense for the people who produce the seafood to control how it is handled, packaged and sold.
Wagner, who has so far brought together about 60 Island fishers to form P.E.I. Premium Seafood Incorporated, said he would like to see many more invest in the company.
He said the firm's mission is to allow local people to take control of the industry at all levels and help bring recognition of Prince Edward Island seafood to consumers around the world.
"We are going to launch a brand of P.E.I. quality seafood."
Wagner said the decision to create the company was formed partly out of frustration about having no control of Island products once they leave P.E.I.
"Once it leaves the bridge it becomes a product of Canada."
He said it could be the best product in the world, but consumers often don't realize it came from P.E.I. Another problem is once it leaves the people who caught it they give up control over its quality.
He said if he were to catch the best quality lobsters in the world and hand it over to someone who either didn't know or care how to properly handle them, it ends up reflecting poorly on him.
This is what he wants to change.
"All P.E.I. quality seafood and lobster would eventually come under a label that is beneficial to the fish workers."
Wagner said this branding would not only benefit those in the seafood industry but could also help many others on the Island.
He said the branding could be beneficial to other industries such as tourism because it would help bring more worldwide recognition for the province.
Wagner said P.E.I. mussels and oysters are already well known around the world but he believes this can be taken to a whole new level and related to all Island seafood.
Properly marketing and controlling a P.E.I. brand could bring in tourists wanting to experience the seafood and where it comes from, said Wagner, and because of the province's small size this could easily benefit everyone.
Wagner also said seafood workers have never taken a step as big as the one he is proposing because they never had a plan put in place, which he said is one of the most important parts.
Wagner said the business has been in contact with the federal government about supporting this and thinks it could also stand to win with investing in a strong P.E.I. brand.
Although he would like to see the government invest, he said this is something that he is going to continue with even if the government doesn't help.
Wagner said he would like to see more fishermen invest in the company.
He said anyone who would like to view his presentation can contact him at 902-831-2479.

Organizations: P.E.I. Premium Seafood

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Canada

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Recent comments

  • Anne Marie
    June 21, 2010 - 20:41

    I fully agree that fishermen should have more control over the selling and marketing of their products. Perhaps this would help fishermen who currently in financial troubles because of this problem. sincerely Anne Marie Clarkin

  • Behind The Plow
    June 21, 2010 - 20:22

    The view from Here..................What an Excellent approach to adding value to your Catch..........way to go.

    1. Great idea, good concepts, good people, committed to doing the job right the first time.
    2. Taking ownership of your catch through point of sale.........I hope it works for your company.....

  • John
    June 21, 2010 - 20:00

    Finally. A voice of reason. Kudos to the gentleman spearheading this initiative. When you are selling a commodity you must find a way to differentiate it. Would be great at some point to do some value-added processing as well.

  • covehead
    June 21, 2010 - 20:00

    as long as yas don't do like other companies....when stocks get low bring in those jumbo lobster fm elsewhere and label them under our name... as a fisher i love the idea and all the best to you.... gl

  • Pie in your face.
    June 21, 2010 - 19:56

    Processors may eat this idea up but I guarantee they will be the only ones benefitting financially. Fishermen won't benefit, nice dream though.

  • Haha
    June 21, 2010 - 19:56

    How would buyers bring product in from off Island,it was in the Southwestern magazine this month that a fisherman from off island got caught selling contaminated oysters in freetown pei{only one buyer in freetown}the man was caught and charged.The buyer in freetown was never charged and people never even herd about it untill now,and it happened in 2006.It is ilegal to buy contaminated shellfish from off island.And yes the buyer in freetown knew where these oysters came from.

  • Rodney
    June 21, 2010 - 19:39

    So how does PEI Premium Seafood Inc. work? Do they have the rights to process lobster on PEI?