Lobster fishermen quit over low prices
Some P.E.I. lobster fishermen have tied up their boats for the year with three weeks left in the fall season, because they say they can't afford to fish for the low prices being offered.
Fishermen have been getting just $2.50 to $2.75 a pound for their lobster this fall. When the spring lobster season closed at the end of June prices were close to $5 a pound.
Many fishermen found catches were good in the first few weeks of the fall season, but now it's starting to drop off and some are finding it's not worth continuing. Robert Wedge of Miminegash in western P.E.I. told CBC News he and a half dozen other fisherman have decided they can't afford to keep going.
Wedge has been fishing lobster for more than 30 years, and this is the first time he has called it quits early.
"You can't survive on [$]2.50 a pound for lobsters," said Wedge.
Devastating. I mean there's lots of guys not going to make boat payments. My helpers ain't making no money now."
The P.E.I. Fisherman's Association suspects the large amount of lobster hauled in this year is a key reason prices are low. Executive director Ian MacPherson said catches have been up in Maine and throughout Atlantic Canada.
"The market can absorb quite a bit, but maybe we're at a point where there's just a little too much product out there to support the prices," said MacPherson.
MacPherson said when the season ends the association plans to sit down with processors and government to try and figure out how to get prices up.
"Should we be looking at some sort of shifting of the season? Controlling the amount that's coming in?" he said.
"These are things we typically haven't talked about, but that maybe need to be looked at."
Some fishermen are hearing rumours prices may go up slightly this weekend. If they don't, the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association predicts more fishermen will call it quits before the season officially ends on Oct. 13.