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P.E.I. fishermen say they are ‘confused and frustrated’ by spring lobster prices

A lobster fisherman sorting his live lobsters at the end of the day to be sold at the docks. -123RF
A lobster fisherman sorting his live lobsters at the end of the day to be sold at the docks. -123RF - file photo

The P.E.I. Fisherman’s Association is raising concerns over spring season lobster prices.

In a statement issued Friday morning, the association says, “Harvesters of Prince Edward Island are experiencing a season that is both confusing and frustrating in terms of the price being paid to harvesters at the wharf.”

The association says five retail operations on P.E.I. show live prices charged to consumers are up to double what fishermen are being paid at the wharf, and that those prices are comparable to what fishermen were getting in 2002. Back then prices were averaging around $5.35 a pound. As prices differ slightly from buyer to buyer and port to port, the PEIFA has no oficial price to report this spring. Prices, however, are said to have slipped into the range of $5.00 a pound for canners and $5.50 a pound for markets, a drop of more than a dollar a pound from last year. 

At the same time, the quality of lobster has improved with upgraded onboard storage equipment, the U.S. exchange rate is favourable for exports and there isn’t as much competition from Maine lobster flooding the market this year.

“The current trends that are developing in 2018 are a concern to harvesters and to date no reasonable explanations have been provided as to the price decreases,” states the PEIFA. “All sectors of the supply chain require a fair return on capital.”

The association says the harvesting sector on P.E.I. is spending more than $300,000 annually to promote P.E.I. lobster.

“The facts have been presented and it is now time for the other sectors of the lobster industry to assist in stemming the current tide of decreasing price,” states the association. “The lobster industry and the economies of Atlantic Canada can ill afford to return to the boom and bust cycles of the past.”

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