Lobster capture. (Photo: Stock File)
PEI’s lobster catch dropped but its value grew
Tuesday, August 30, 2016, 02:50 (GMT + 9)
The Prince Edward Island (PEI) Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has reported a successful spring lobster fishing season running from April 30 until June 30 this year.
“I want to thank and recognize all Island fishers for their valued contribution to our provincial economy,” pointed out Minister Alan McIsaac.
During the spring 2016 season, lobster fishers enjoyed very strong shore prices this year in light of what appears to be strong demand for lobster products and offset the lower capture volume.
The Minister stated that the preliminary landed value of the spring lobster season is estimated to be CAD 148 million (USD 113.8 million), representing an increase of 22 per cent year on year.
The unloaded volume totalled 23.5 million pounds, an amount that represents a decrease in catches of 13.5 per cent from the record landings in the 2015 spring lobster season.
The spring lobster season is comprised of more than 1,000 fishers in Lobster Fishing Area 24 and Lobster Fishing Area 26 A-1.
Meanwhile, in the fall lobster season, which began on August 9, and will close on October 10, there are 225 lobster fishers taking part.
The lobster fishery in PEI has about 1,200 captains, with approximately 1,800 crew working during the two seasons.
According to Bob Creed, director of Marine Fisheries, Agri-food and Seafood Services for the province pointed out the price was getting adjusted on a regular basis throughout the spring season and that by the end of the season the price had climbed to the CAD 7.00 to 7.25 (USD 5.38-5.57) race for canners and CAD 8.00 (USD 6.16) or higher for markets in some ports.
On the other hand, Craig Avery, president of the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association and a spring fisherman out of Northport, said he was expecting catches overall would have been down by 15 per cent, and he knew the value had taken a big jump.
Avery acknowledged the strong American dollar helps, but he said fishermen can take some of the credit for the price increase. “I’ve always stressed that Prince Edward Island fishermen, for sure, played a big role in prices going up here.”
The industry has put a big focus on quality, promotion and marketing and it is paying off.
Avery added a resolution on the temporary foreign worker program was also extremely beneficial as it allows plants to have enough employees on payroll to work on higher value processing