Some buyers shelling out more than $1M for lobster boat, licence
'This is the seller's market right now'
The purchase price of lobster fishing fleets is hitting new highs, according to a P.E.I. broker — in some cases people are paying more than $1 million to get into the lobster fishing business.
"I've never seen them this high before," said broker Mark Hackett of Tignish, P.E.I. "A million plus."
The high value of lobster landings, combined with large catch sizes in recent years, are driving up fleet prices, according to Hackett.
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This is the seller's market right now. If you're buying, if they can can get the money, more power to them.— Mark Hackett
"The demand is high for licences … there's so many trying to buy right now it's driving the price up because there's very few sellers."
"There's not much other fisheries on the go that's making much money right now besides lobster fishing, so if you need to get in, you either got to get in or you get out."
In eastern P.E.I., fishermen say fleets in Naufrage, North Lake and Souris, P.E.I., have sold for jaw-dropping prices in recent months.
"Personally, I've had a couple of offers this fall and I wasn't even planning on selling," said Shelley Deagle, who fishes out of Naufrage.
"It was pretty tempting."
Deagle turned down the offers.
'I don't think I'd be able to sleep at night'
Young fishermen are wondering how they'll ever be able to afford their own fleet.
"I want to but I just can't see it with the price of the fleets right now," said Nigel MacDonald, a 23-year-old fisherman out of Naufrage.
"I don't think I'd be able to sleep at night knowing I have that much every year to pay."
According to Hackett, some buyers are even mortgaging homes and taking on debt to make the math work.
"The bank will loan up to $400,000 on the licence itself and then 75 per cent of the value of the boat," Hackett said.
Hackett has 35 to 40 people looking to buy fishing fleets, he said, but few people wanting to sell.
"This is the seller's market right now," he said. "If you're buying, if they can can get the money, more power to them."