© TC Media photo by Dave Mathieson
Maritime Lobster Panel members John Hanlon of Nova Scotia, Gilles Theriault of New Brunswick and Lewis Creed of Prince Edward Island look on while New Brunswick Fisheries Minister Mike Olscamp speaks at a press conference to release their 33 recommendations on Thursday in Amherst.
The Maritime Lobster Panel has baited all the right hooks, but the president of the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association is wondering if a trap line of recommendations announced Thursday will have any bite in the 2014 season.
The panel released its long-awaited report and made 33 recommendations.
It especially addressed the poor prices over the past few years that drove many Maritime fishermen to tie up their boats and protest last spring.
“My initial reaction is that they did most of their homework and have made some good recommendations ... but whether there’s any teeth is another story,’’ said Mike McGeoghegan from his home in Pinette. “You can say there should be a set price for fishermen but that doesn’t mean it will happen.”
McGeoghegan said he would speak only personally and limit his comments since the PEIFA board of directors is awaiting the findings of the Younker report which examines the P.E.I. industry.
The board said it would prefer to comment on both reports.
The Maritime Lobster Panel spent five months to confirm the industry needs “wholesale changes” to improve the price, sales and marketing of Canadian lobster.
It says there is financial wiggle room to guarantee a $4 canner and $5 market lobster price after seven years of rock bottom returns.
The panel wants changes from the current practice of high-volume fishing over short periods to a harvest regime matched with onshore capacity to deal with the high volumes, and ultimately, higher prices.
“I think there is a bit of a gap when it comes to price fixing and the glut,’’ said McGeoghegan.
“I don’t believe there is a glut, but we need intelligence on what is being held in storage. I also asked the panel to follow the money trail and they didn’t do