Lee Knox, left, president of the Prince County Fishermen’s Association checks his notes as Jeff Malloy, president of the Lobster Council of Canada addresses the association’s annual meeting Friday in O’Leary. Eric McCarthy/Journal Pioneer
O’LEARY -- The new president of the Lobster Council of Canada had words of praise Friday for the Maine lobster fishery.
“They’re putting a tremendous amount of money into their efforts, They’ve done an excellent job over the last three years..” Jeff Malloy said of Maine’s lobster marketing initiatives.
But Malloy was not trying to fluff up an industry south of the border; he was driving home the point that the Prince Edward Island and Canadian lobster industry must do the same.
“We have to keep up with Maine,” he told the 70 fishermen in attendance for the annual meeting of the Prince County Fishermen’s Association.
“It’s working,” he said of the American efforts.
Malloy pitched support for the penny-a-pound marketing levy recommended by both the Younker report on the P.E.I. lobster fishery and the report presented by the Maritime Lobster Panel. He said the Canadian lobster industry needs to identify a Canadian brand and direct money to market research. He added there should also be room for promotional dollars at the provincial level.
The president of the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association, Mike McGeoghegan, backed up Malloy’s remarks.
“Marketing works,” he said. “It just does. It works.”
He painted a picture of a more prosperous future for the industry, telling of fishermen who now have to go west to help make ends meet.
“They should be fishermen and they should be proud to be fishermen and they should be making lots of money to be fishermen,“ he insisted.
They should be able to stand up with professionals like doctors and lawyers, he suggested, “and say, ‘I’m a fisherman and I’m proud to be a fisherman, and we make doggone good money at it, too.’ That shouldn’t be a shameful thing.”
The future of the lobster industry and fishing industry here on Prince Edward Island is good, he insisted.
“We just have to change the way we look at it and how we address the problem.”
Malloy and McGeoghegan advocated cooperation within the industry.
“We have to start working together and communicating much better than we have in the past.” said Malloy who insisted the marketing levy is essential for the good of the overall industry here.
“The amount of money generated in this industry, there’s no reason why we don’t invest some of it back in order to make this a better industry,”he stressed.
Fishermen also heard a presentation on generic marketing - how a commodity can be promoted without endorsing a certain brand.