Low lobster prices trouble fishery

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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Editor: We have reached a crossroads in the lobster fishery – after countless years of low catches in the Northumberland Strait there appears to be a glimmer of hope with increased landings throughout much of the LFA and a bright future with an unimaginable amount of tiny lobsters coming up in traps this year.

It’s nice to see the catches finally rebounding but it is discouraging to see such a low price being paid.

There are countless ideas floated about how to increase the price paid to fishers but they all seem to end with the same result — a low price. Trap reduction has been suggested as a way but for many it just leads to fishers catching the same amount of fish over an extended period of time.

Increasing the carapace size has been touted by countless fishers off P.E.I. as a way to increase the price paid to fishers. They believe that cutting out the canner lobster and moving to an American market size will allow them to be paid more. They forget the carapace size increase has assisted the southern Gulf  stocks in building to record numbers with dwindling prices.

They also overlook the fact consumers appreciate different products. Putting the same size lobster on the same consumer market that all other fisheries cater to would be a disaster. It would push the prices down quicker and fishers would go out of business.

It’s time Gail Shea take note of the real problem with the fishery – southwest Nova and the Bay of Fundy.

These two locations fish lobster over a six-month season, fish a higher trap limit and are able to stay out at sea for days. In an effort to increase prices to fishers it is imperative Minister Shea drastically reduce the season of these areas and drastically reduce their trap limit as well. It would also be ideal if she made it a requirement for them to return to port by dusk each day.

Once these changes are done then you will see positive changes in the price paid to fishers. Until then, we will continue to spin our tires in the mud called low prices.

David LaPierre,

Fisherman from Souris Harbour

Geographic location: Southern Gulf, Bay of Fundy

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