Fishermen call for action on lobster reports

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Mike McGeoghegan, president of the P.E.I Fishermens Association. FILE PHOTO

Two recent reports on the crisis in the lobster fishery are an urgent call to action that industry and governments can’t ignore, says P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association president Mike McGeoghegan.

McGeoghegan made the remarks during a Thursday morning news conference in Charlottetown responding to two recent reports on the industry: the first released by the Maritime Lobster Panel set up by Atlantic premiers; and the second by former P.E.I. auditor general Colin Younker, who was commissioned by the provincial fisheries minister, Ron MacKinley.

“The lobster fishery has been devastated by low prices that see fishers earning 25 per cent less than they did seven years ago while costs continue to rise. The twelve hundred fishers, their families and their communities can’t sustain this kind of economic hardship," McGeoghegan said Thursday.

"These reports don’t answer all the questions, but they are an important starting point.”

Having reviewed the reports, the PEIFA says there are some key recommendations the industry and the government need to act upon.

The PEIFA supports a legislative-based price setting mechanism based on independent analysis of market conditions and the cost of production.

The fishermen also support establishing a Maritime Market Intelligence Institute, "provided it has the authority to access cost of production data from fishers and processors in order to support a price setting mechanism," a news release from the PEIFA says.

It would also like to see a levy to support generic marketing of lobster and government and industry investment in new product development.

The PEIFA says it will ask Premier Robert Ghiz to use the Council of Atlantic Premiers as the forum for ensuring region-wide government leadership in addressing the lobster crisis.

“Clearly, there are details to be worked out on all of these issues. But there is an urgency and the time to act is now. We will do our part to engage fishers in P.E.I. and the Maritimes," said McGeoghegan. "Our elected leaders also need to recognize the role they have to play."

Organizations: Maritime Lobster Panel, Maritime Market Intelligence Institute, Council of Atlantic Premiers

Geographic location: P.E.I. Fishermen, Charlottetown, PEI

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Recent comments

  • Ben Dover
    December 08, 2013 - 10:26

    Jrsplace...thats probably where you are replying from. Im sorry. I forgot. I shouldnt slack off on my job. You are tr only one aloud to do that all day for 8-10 months. Let me guess. We should let go of all the goverment workers except the ones that handle pogey. I bet that would work for you. All of this goverment work that goes into your "self employed " business..I know you just dont have time to write about it, but Im sure you are just as concerned for the plumbers/carpenters/etc.. Haha. Ya right. Just for one year you should try not drawing welfare and see what it IS like running a small business. You cant, end of storey, part of why this section of Canada is a disgrace to the rest of the country that work for a living. Now let me here your ignorance. And by that i mean stupidity.. Not rude comments.

  • jrsplace
    December 06, 2013 - 11:43

    more ignorance...no body understands the fishery or the background of it unless your involved...take a look at the history (GET A LIFE)...licenses were handed out for votes between the 50s and 70s...and that is what led to the amount of fishers...I am sure island fishers would love to fish more and not have to go on ei but regulations do not allow that. as for Ben Dover...perhaps if you had to pay to heat your office, put electricity to your computer, as well as the utilities and lone behold...not complain about your pensions all the time you would be better off too...I don't want to prop up your pensions for 3o years of coffee drinking and gossiping!

  • Get a Life
    December 06, 2013 - 09:34

    @jrsplace... if you and your buddies want to fish 1000 traps year round, go ahead and fill your boots. Those kind of decisions were made by government at the request of fishermen like yourself and is not the result of some government plot against P.E.I. fishermen. As for your gear(s) nobody wants it but for everyone's sake quit your darn bitchin' all the time about the plight of Island fishermen. Maine fishermen are " fishermen" and need to fish year round. Why? Because they don't sit on their rear-ends for most of the year drawing pogey and bitchin' about their lot in life. So put on your "Big Boy" pants and go to work and stop relying on Fishermen's Welfare.

  • UPWESTER
    December 06, 2013 - 09:29

    The only way to get prices higher is by advertising & promotion. Atlantic fishermen need to combine forces and market an Atlantic lobster. For Island fishermen to think that they have the best product is silly. Try telling someone in Alberta or Finland or Sweden that yours is better than NB or NS when they basically come from the same waters is either egotistical or stupid. Actually, NB & NS fishers continue to get better prices than the Island so it can't be the taste. Time for Island fishermen to take control of their fishery and stop wasting time and money on the current PEIFA, as they are of no beneficial purpose that I can see. No one on the PEIFA has any marketing skills whatso ever. Marketing is what is needed. Comparing PEI to NB & NS is like comparing GM, Ford & Chrysler trucks, the best one is the one you have. Same with lobsters.

  • Ben Dover
    December 06, 2013 - 08:58

    Ha. Same old comment. Go buy one! Try buying one on the northside right now. Catching were 40 thousand plus last year. Thats pretty good money at 4 dollars a pound. Oh wait. Let me guess. You have expenses....30 tops. Oh wait...you have a loan payment atthe bank...imagine, them wanting their money back. I will wait until your done skidooing and washing tour new truck, for a comment. Prob right after you book your trip south. And yes, im a goverment worker on the internet at work. Imagine, slacking off and getting paid for it. Crime.

  • What a Joke
    December 06, 2013 - 08:20

    Devastated? Economic Hardship? I see more time spent not working than working and in return have more than most full time workers. Full time workers pay into a system year round to feed you people 6 months or more out of a year !! I see fishermen with new trucks, new cars, recreation vehicles, campers, pools, trips to the south....waaah, waaah. You get paid for not working, so quit whining !!! Here's an idea...how about the government throw something to the full time worker for a change....a break on daycare, a bit less taken off for EI. Fair enough? I think so.....

  • jrsplace
    December 06, 2013 - 07:31

    Hard to compete with Southwest Nova and Maine when SW Nova fishes 6 months of the year with 375-400 traps and Maine fishes year round. It is time they make cuts. Everyone who goes on about Island fishers being greedy do not understand the industry and are ignorant. There are lots of gears for sale. Go buy one if it is so good in your eyes. Otherwise you are a coward!

  • That is enough
    December 05, 2013 - 21:40

    Yes, you government people, get your butts going to carry out all the recommendations in the two reports and if doesn't work it will be your fault....GET IT. We. fishermen would help if we could but we can't for various reasons. We are busy filing EI claims and cashing the cheques. We don't have a clue of what any of the recommendations mean and we are in shock that there were no disaster cheques for us fishermen included in the reports. We are also sulking because we think the P.E.I. government should just make the processor pay what we want and make lobster fishermen in N.S., Maine and elsewhere in the world change the way they fish to coincide with the P.E.I. fishery. And if anyone has some spare time could you pop over and give me a hand building traps. In other words: Fishermen, get off your fat asses and form your own Maritime Fishermen's Task Force to address some of the recommendations in the reports. You can include fishermen from the 4 Atlantic provinces as well as people from government, academia, business, marketing , finance etc. Perhaps there could be international representations from Maine and other US coastal states. I do not think the provincial governments should be responsible for carrying out all work that is required to satisfy the issues in the reports, especially all at taxpayers expense. The taxpayers already paid for the reports, The ball is in the fishermen's court now

  • don
    December 05, 2013 - 16:33

    Brian if you think the government cares more for the fishermen or the processors? you lose the fish plants has more MONEY. see you all all at the food bank.