© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
A lobster fishermen stands on the wharf in North Rustico Saturday April 19, 2014 as he and other fishermen get ready for the opening of the season April 30.
With lobster fishermen concerned about the upcoming season, Souris-Elmira MLA Colin LaVie is asking what the provincial government is doing to help.
During Tuesday’s question period, LaVie said Fisheries Minister Ron MacKinley’s department had a lot of money set aside for marketing, but he wondered what was being done to help improve prices.
“What progress have you made in marketing?” LaVie asked.
MacKinley said the department has sent representatives to several places to promote Island lobster, including China and the Boston seafood show, and has partnered with food wholesaler Sysco on a promotion.
“We did whatever we could to help the fishermen,” he said.
The start to the lobster season is only a week away and fishermen don’t know what price they will be getting for their catch.
Last year, fishermen in the region faced prices so low they said they couldn’t make any money off their catches and tied up their boats for several days in protest at the start of the season.
This year, the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association is considering a lobster levy in an effort to boost marketing with the goal of increasing prices.
LaVie said there are fishermen out there who are stressed out because of the situation. MacKinley said people are buying lobsters but the prices are low, which is why things like a levy and a regional fishery panel are being worked on.