Lobster processors struggling too, association tells MLAs

Teresa Wright
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Jeff Malloy, the president of the P.E.I. Seafood Processors’ Association, told a committee of MLAs Tuesday in Charlottetown that processors are struggling as well as lobster fishermen.

Lobster processors in Prince Edward Island are struggling as much as fishermen to stay afloat, the president of the P.E.I. Seafood Processors’ Association told a committee of MLAs Tuesday in Charlottetown.

Jeff Malloy said processors have experienced very low profit margins over the last number of years, which is contributing to the lower prices for P.E.I. lobster.

“If processors face cash flow issues, it forces the processors to move the stuff more quickly and therefore forces the prices down in order to move it quickly.”

The standing committee on fisheries, transportation and rural development has been probing the issue of lobster prices and why P.E.I. fishermen have been getting record low prices for their catches despite the fact it remains a luxury item in restaurants. A number of P.E.I. fishermen have said they will not set their traps this year if the price per pound is $3, as it was last year.

Malloy said there are many rumours about the lobster processing industry, but he tried to shed light on the realities they face.

Workers are hard to find, and bringing in temporary foreign workers is expensive. Fuel prices and packaging costs have also gone up substantially, all of which is squeezing the bottom line for processors.

Malloy, who is also the general manager for the Acadian Fishermen’s Cooperative, says he can see the concerns from the perspective of both the fishermen and the processors, and both are struggling.

“I certainly know full well what the fishermen are experiencing with their high costs and certainly understand the prices that have had to be paid to them over the last few years has not helped the situation with the fishermen, but those things are happening to our processors too.”

Currently fishermen and processors in P.E.I. are taking part in closed-door discussions with a facilitator hired by the province to help the two groups come to some agreement on ideas that have been proposed to help the industry, including a lobster levy to raise money for marketing.

Malloy says he hopes the discussions will create a better understanding between the two sides of the industry about difficult realities facing all stakeholders, including processors.

“We certainly don’t expect government to come in and wave a magic wand and fix this, there’s a lot of players, there’s a lot of issues that affect the shore price, but I feel that through working together… we can help improve the bottom lines of each of the businesses.”

A two-day lobster summit with over 200 participants is scheduled to get underway in Halifax Wednesday. It will bring together fishermen, processors and industry experts to discuss the four key recommendations outlined in the Maritime Lobster Panel report released last Fall.

 

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Organizations: Maritime Lobster Panel

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Halifax

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Recent comments

  • Nathan Burt
    March 27, 2014 - 10:28

    Go and buy a gear and find out then if fisherman have it so good why doesn't everyone have one ?? And I love how not one of you gutless cowards have the balls to even put your real names under your comments.

  • To Oh Boy
    March 26, 2014 - 16:36

    Yep you forgot to mention you could hire your son or wife, they don't have to go out in the boat, but they can get full pogey... Can we say "gravy train"......

  • Al
    March 26, 2014 - 16:22

    If fishing is so bad why are you still fishing?they is lots of other jobs,stop whining and do something else

  • tyler
    March 26, 2014 - 16:06

    this is for oh boy all I can say too you id if its that simple go buy a gear well see where you sit in 5 years down the road

    • I agree
      March 27, 2014 - 08:52

      These people have no clue. Not one person here bashing these fisherman/fisher women could last a week. Guaranteed.

  • why why
    March 26, 2014 - 12:04

    If the seafood processors are concerned about getting rid of their lobsters then why was royal star the only one at the boston seafood show...seems kinda fishy no pun intended.....

  • Jimmy who
    March 26, 2014 - 11:37

    Oh Boy.... Thanks for that but you forgot the manipulation of their expenses to come under the clawback . You also forgot 4 wheelers and snowmobiles

  • Oh boy....
    March 26, 2014 - 08:11

    Well this should be good, big storm day on the island and the Guardian includes an article about lobster fishing. This should make for some interesting comments from all the jerks sitting home in front of their computers. Now remember: ALL fisherman drive $60000 (not $40000) trucks, they All draw 10 months Pogey ( no waiting weeks, take that!!) they All take vacations to Cuba, they All have scallop licenses and sell scallops under the table, they All have $200000 boats......am I missing anything?

    • funny
      March 26, 2014 - 13:07

      yes - just fisherpeople are hurting

    • Pretty Much
      March 26, 2014 - 16:35

      Yes like you said,fisherman seem to like the loaded 4x4 trucks,the ski-doo,s and the bikes. Oh almost forgot the big homes too. Lets see now,the fisherman are looking for a fuel break when they already get the fuel tax break,haha,then what about the third world spin,too funny.Time to get real and forget government hand outs,like EI,either deal with it or get out,the people are sick and tired or listening to fishers and their whine.And you wonder why fisherman have no respect.

  • Why
    March 26, 2014 - 07:53

    Why with unemployment so high in our area is this happening . Workers are hard to find, and bringing in temporary foreign workers is expensive . This shouldn't be so . Any one applying for EI should have to fill these job's or lose their right to EI . I believe a lot of the people in our area just don't want to work at common labor even though they haven't any training for non labor jobs . If I remember correctly a few years ago factory wages were above minimum wage by a fair bit but the work was hard . It's sicking to hear the people raving on about no job's & 100's of foreign workers working here instead of our own people .