Lobster prices sink further
Last Updated: Thursday, August 27, 2009 | 1:41 PM AT
The price fishermen are paid for their lobster on the wharf, which was at a 20-year low in the spring, has fallen even further.
Lobster prices for the fall fishery in Area 25, between Victoria and North Cape, P.E.I., are 25 cents a pound lower than during the spring season: $2.75 for canners and $3.25 for market-sized lobsters. That's a dollar lower per pound than last year's prices.
"It's a really difficult time for the fall fishermen," Ed Frenette, executive director of the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association, told CBC News Wednesday.
"We know what it was like in the spring. Prices were down, and they're even slightly less for the fall fishermen, and their landings are a lot less than in the spring. So they're having a lot of difficulty making ends meet."
The province's planned solution at the end of the spring season was a program to permanently buy back a number of licences. Not all the money is in place for that program, so licences are being bought out for only the current fall season. Twenty-four fishermen — a tenth of those with licenses — opted in to the program and are being paid $20,000 to keep their boats tied up.
"There probably will be a few others next year and maybe the year after," Frenette said.
"If we can get 25 to 30 per cent of fishermen off the water, I think it will make it better for those who are left, and then it relies on the stock stability."
The hope is those fishermen who remain on the water will get better catches. This year, fishermen in Area 25 say they're only getting a third of what's needed to cover basic costs.
The fall fishery has had poor catches for years, and fishermen doubt it will get any better before the end of the current season. They're already looking ahead to next year, hoping for better results.
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