Lobster fishermen and buyers in Nova Scotia say that prices are moving up for some of the first lobsters of the season.
The lobster season in Nova Scotia opened Monday from Cole Harbour to Digby. As many as 1,700 licence holders are eligible to fish in Lobster Fishing Areas 33 and 34, the most productive lobster fishing grounds in Canada.
Greg Naugle, who runs Old Dory Lobsters Inc. in Eastern Passage, said prices will fluctuate this week while they are negotiated between fishermen and buyers.
"The shore price for the boats is up from what it was last year," he said. "We're looking like it's probably going to maintain it."
Naugle said Wednesday he was selling the first lobsters of the season at a price of $5.99 per pound, for lobsters between one and 1.4 pounds. Lobsters between 1.45 and 3.25 pounds were being sold for $6.49 per pound.
This time last year, Naugle said, the price was around $4 per pound.
The higher price may be enough to keep fishermen from selling their own catches from truck beds along the roadside or in shopping centre parking lots, a practice that has become popular in recent years as fishermen discovered they could get better prices by selling directly to consumers.
"You're not going to get as many trucks on the road, get as many guys dragging them in," said Naugle. "If they're getting a better wharf price it's not worth their while to pile them in the truck and drag them to the city."
Heidi Kakonyi Poulton, who sorts the day's lobster catch at the nearby Lobster Dive Inc., said the owner of her store is a fisherman himself.
"He is out catching, and instead of taking a truck and setting it at the side of the road, he has his own retail space here," she said.
Even for an owner who sells what he catches, Poulton said, it will likely be at least a week before the market sets the true price for consumers.
"The price is at $6.99 [per pound] right now and I would suspect that when the owner of the shop comes back today, he will advise me of what the new price will be," she said Wednesday.