Fishermen's association president calls lobster panel 'a joke'

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Independent group looking into low lobster prices in region 'will just sit around and talk and do nothing': McGeoghegan

Mike McGeoghegan, president of the P.E.I Fishermens Association speaks to reporters after he and other fishermen spoke to Premier Robert Ghiz about the issue of low prices for lobster.

PINETTE — An independent panel to review low lobster prices this year will end up being nothing but a joke, says the president of the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association.

“They’ll do nothing but sit around having steak dinners and drinking cognac,’’ said Mike McGeoghegan, about the independent panel announced last week to address low prices in the lobster fishery.

“If this was happening in any other province (low prices), the wheels would be flying off the bus.”

The Pinette fisherman was responding to the panel announced by the fisheries ministers of P.E.I, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick who met in Amherst last week to work collectively on marketing initiatives in an effort to increase shore price for lobsters.

The announcement followed a lobster strike initiated by Island fishermen over a $2.75 to $3.25 price ratio for canners and markets. The strike swept through the Maritimes and nearly brought the industry to a standstill.

“Just look at the picture that ran in the paper,’’ said McGeoghegan. “They don’t give a hoot about this … they’re just going to sit around and talk and do nothing. We need a royal commission on the way the lobster industry is operated in this region.”

Fishermen set traps year after year without any knowledge of a shore price and McGeoghegan said it’s a billion-dollar business with little ending up with the harvesters or the Canadian public.

“It’s a complicated issue that needs to be taken apart so those who harvest make some money,” said the president.

The panel said it would reach out to other jurisdictions in the region and talk to the federal government about the development of international markets.

Nova Scotia Fisheries Minister Sterling Beliveau said senior officials will report back to the ministers in two weeks concerning the terms of reference and membership of the panel.

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, P.E.I. Fishermen, New Brunswick Amherst Iceland

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Recent comments

  • Ben Dover
    May 23, 2013 - 15:46


  • Think about it
    May 22, 2013 - 10:36

    The economy is not running on all cylinders, there is more product on the market than what consumers want, lobster is not exactly a main stable on a dinner table, fishers are bringing in almost record catches and Mr. McGeoghegan thinks that they should be getting higher prices. Right. Supply and demand will set the price. No boards or panels can change that. Maybe get the Chinese hooked on these critters, such a large population should put a dent in the over supply. There is always the choice to get out of the business.

    • fisherman
      May 22, 2013 - 12:22

      And yet the processors are still buying them in the Maggies and shipping them across the Ferry to souris and over the Link to NB or 4.99 a pound to them Fisherman... While the Island fisherman get 2.75

  • peier
    May 22, 2013 - 10:31

    ................because fishermen can't get along long enough to even agree to strike .....and if they did support a marketing board, they would want taxpayers to pay for it!!!!!

  • Kettle black
    May 22, 2013 - 10:27

    This seems to be like the kettle calling the frying pan black. This fellow led the fishers out on strike while a month before was saying things like 12 dollar a pound lobster to be expected. If they go on strike do it at the end of negotiations not the day after you put the traps in the water. The strike could only fail and it did.

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    May 22, 2013 - 10:18

    Mr. McGeoghegan is right. Who could trust a government appointed panel? Anyway, it is not just the fishers that are being raked over the coals by those that have, it is every industry in Atlantic Canada. All of our Island industries are at the mercy of the buyers. It never used to be this way. By allowing just a few BIG buyers, buying BIG quantities, the industries have changed and now DEPEND on those BIG buyers. Now the BIG buyers have everyone at their mercy. It would take many years to develop new markets so you are FORCED to sell to them. And then we have collusion and conspiracy among the buyers, you know, the dreaded "PRICE FIXING" . Well price fixing goes on all the time . The more money involved the more corruption there is. Here is an article to explain. . The French Fry people control potatoes on PEI, poisoning us for their corporate greed, and the lobster buyers control the lobster industry for their corporate greed. A BIG INVESTIGATION IS NEEDED but by who? Who can we trust anymore? All the foxes are now guarding all the hen houses.

  • Chad Crockett
    May 22, 2013 - 09:35

    My biggest question is this: Why isn't there a Lobster Marketing Board? There is a Potato Board, and they deal with Potatoes, and issues arising around Potatoes, and the Marketing of them. The Fisherman's Association has many issues they have to face, shellfish, salmon, trout, lobster, etc... Wouldn't it be feasible to have a separate Board for Lobster, and the promotion of Lobster, much like how the successful Potato Board does?