PEI

P.E.I.-brand lobster sees first shipment

The first shipment of P.E.I.-brand processed lobster products from the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association has left the Island.

P.E.I. Fishermen's Association has been working on Master Lobster brand for about a year and a half

Craig Avery, president of the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association says people want the P.E.I. lobster brand. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

The first shipment of P.E.I.-brand processed lobster products from the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association has left the Island.

The blanched frozen lobster was shipped from Royal Star Foods in Tignish Tuesday, about a year and a half after the association began working on the Master Lobster brand, which the PEIFA hopes will distinguish P.E.I. product from the competition.

"Fishermen decided that we want to be a part of marketing and promotion, [to] create competition in the marketplace," said president Craig Avery.

"Every lobster fishermen in Prince Edward Island is part of this brand. All of our lobster is coming from Prince Edward Island."

The P.E.I. Fishermen's Association hopes their new branded product will distinguish the Island's lobster from the competition. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)
About 340,000 kilograms is heading to Costco in Moncton. It will be distributed to stores in mostly Quebec and Ontario. The lobster will also be shipped to China and France soon.

"What we've got to do is go out and show them our product is selling. People want our brand and they'll want to come on board with us," said Avery.

Fishermen will continue to profit from the new brand, he says.

"When we get our brand up and running and promoted there's going to be dividends and there's going to be money back in fishermen's pockets."

So far Royal Star Foods is the only processor that's agreed to use the brand.

"As long as it brings a better return to the Island fishermen, then we're all winners," said manager Francis Morrissey.

The PEIFA is in talks with other processors to start using the brand.

"Every processor that we've spoken to has showed an interest," he said.

"We'd like to make sure that they're all special products. It's not going to be just throwing things in a bag and sending it out."

The PEIFA has spent about $200,000 developing the brand so far, money that comes from government and revenue the association sets aside for marketing.

Money from the lobster levy, which is set to launch in 2016, will eventually go into building the brand as well.

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