Lobster traps and buoys stacked up in Seacow Pond, PEI. Eric McCarthy photo
The PEI Fishermen’s Association (PEIFA) says lobster fishers on Prince Edward Island are expecting strong prices for the spring lobster season. These expectations are related to low lobster inventories and increasing demand in the US market.
The US economy has improved since last year, which saw spring season prices end in the $5-per-pound range. European demand remains steady particularly for the smaller “canner” lobster, 80 per cent, which is caught on PEI.
Inventories of Nova Scotia lobster are very low despite large winter catches. The strength of the caught lobsters was not conducive to long term live storage.
“This is a pivotal year for harvesters on PEI,” said Mike McGeoghegan, PEIFA president. “This is a year when fishers need to be able to not just cover costs but have additional income so that equipment repairs and upgrades can be made. Many of these items have been delayed in the past few years.”
He said bait and fuel costs continue to escalate. McGeoghegan said the lobster industry contributes over $80 million to the Island economy and it is critical fishers receive strong prices. The veteran fisher form the Pinette area said the 1300 independent fishers buy goods and services in their local communities.
He said there are reports are that several new buyers will be coming to PEI this year which should further increase demand for product and competition on the wharf.
Fishers were scheduled for set their traps April 30 but the Department of Fisheries and Oceans delayed setting day until May 1 due to inclement weather, meaning the first catches will be landed at wharves across the country’s smallest prince May 2.
“PEI fishers are currently assessing their options to ensure that fair prices are received for their product this spring,” McGeoghegan said.