Lobster price comments called irresponsible
The P.E.I. Fishermen's Association is upset about a New Brunswick consultant's doom-and-gloom comments about this year's fall lobster fishery.
The consultant says the comments were taken out of context.
PEIFA manager Ian MacPherson said he read the comments while in a meeting in Moncton aimed at pushing up the rock-bottom prices the fall lobster fishery faced last year, which fell below $3 a pound before the end of the season.
MacPherson doesn't appreciate Gilles Thériault's predictions this year, that prices could be even lower.
"When we're in discussion on how to improve the fishery and statements like that are being made, we found it very counter-productive and very disruptive," said MacPherson.
The PEIFA believes Thériault is trying to create a "culture of fear," intensifying the already divisive debate between P.E.I. and New Brunswick over the fall lobster fishery in their shared fishing grounds, known as LFA 25, in the Northumberland Strait. Consultant work Thériault did for New Brunswick led the industry in that province to ask DFO regulations be changed to increase the minimum size of lobster caught, but P.E.I. fishermen, who have developed specialized markets for the smaller lobster, are opposing the change.
Thériault said he was not making a prediction for the 2013 fall fishery, but about the spring fishery that has just begun.
"When I say lower prices, I'm not referring to prices that were paid in LFA-25 last year," he said.
"I hope that we don't get that low again. But I was referring to the spring fishermen, who did get a higher price than the fall lobster fishermen in P.E.I. and New Brunswick."
Thériault expects, with the higher catches anticipated this year, spring prices could be lower this year.
He said it's too early to predict what will happen with fall prices, an opinion the PEIFA shares.