P.E.I. lobster season opens
Waiting days or weeks for prices on catch not feasible, say fishermen
Lobster season opened Wednesday but fishermen on P.E.I. said they are frustrated waiting days, sometimes weeks, to find out how much they'll get for their catch.
Local fisherman Alan Campbell, said fishermen need to know the price beforehand.
"There's no one else, no other sector that comes in with their product and sells it to their buyer that have absolutely no idea what they're going to get for the next week, or two weeks, or three weeks. It's high time it changed."
Knowing what their catch is worth is necessary to help budget with the cost of bait and fuel on the rise.
As a result of the time-lag, some fishermen in Nova Scotia have tied up their boats in protest. Some P.E.I. fishermen talk of doing the same.
Other fishermen are forming their own buying groups and selling directly to processing plants.
This past winter, Ian MacPherson of the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association said the association organized pricing talks with processors for the first time; however no decision was made.
"Unfortunately they didn't conclude in a shore price but I got some dialogue going so perhaps after fishing they may pick up again," MacPherson said.
Fishermen at Covehead said Wednesday, catches are good this year.
Fisherman Matthew DesRoches landed about a 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms) but he's not sure what price they'll fetch.
"Hopefully we'll get like over [$4 a pound] for canners anyway, and [$5 a pound] for markets, but that depends on the catches everywhere else, you know, and the market," DesRoches told CBC News.
According to the PEIFA, prices are looking good. Inventory on the mainland is low, demand from the U.S. is growing as the economy rebounds, and buyers on the wharf are buying up product.
However, the price they’ll fetch for the lobster is decided by management of fish processing plants and might not be known for weeks.
Lobster landings are worth about $80 million per year to the Island's 1,300 commercial fishermen.
Spring lobster season runs until the end of June.