PEI

Lobster prices could be better says P.E.I. marketing group

The group that markets P.E.I. lobster says this year's price is good, but could be better.

'There is a problem with the whole system and it has to be addressed'

'If you look at Newfoundland and the Magdalen Islands both have a price setting board and they negotiate that price in March and April,' says Charlie MacGeoghegan chair of the Lobster Fishers of P.E.I. Marketing Board. (Brian McInnis)

The group that markets P.E.I. lobster says this year's price is good, but could be better.

The Lobster Fishers of P.E.I. Marketing Board says fishermen are getting a bit more than last year — between $5 and $5.75 for canner lobsters which are smaller and $6 to $6.75 for larger markets, said the group's chair and fisherman Charlie MacGeoghegan.

He said fishermen in Nova Scotia are getting more for their lobster.

"If you take 2018 versus 2017 it was over a dollar a pound in the difference between Nova Scotia and here, so that's, on last year's catch that's $38 million."

MacGeoghegan said the group would like the province's help to get buyers to pay more.

"That's a lot of money that the province is losing out on, and we need their help to make sure that our fishers get fairly treated."

'Problem with the whole system'

MacGeoghehan said the province could help by working alongside the organization since they have a full-time person who researches price.

"We feel the province should be involved in that and it's money out of their pocket as well as the economy of Prince Edward Island as well as the 1,260 fisherman we represent."

MacGeoghehan said there is a bigger global market for lobster than there has ever been, and the province should ensure Island fishermen are getting what they deserve. 

"There is a problem with the whole system and it has to be addressed."

He said he wants to know the price of lobster on the day they go out to fish and thinks the province could help in that regard.

"If you look at Newfoundland and the Magdalen Islands both have a price-setting board and they negotiate that price in March and April."

MacGeoghehan said the organization plans to ask fisherman if they'd want to adopt a similar system.

No more weekly price reports

CBC News reached out to lobster buyers but did not get a response.

CBC also asked P.E.I.'s Department of Fisheries for comment, and received an email statement.

It said any new price-setting mechanism "would require much more discussion across the sector both in P.E.I. and across the Gulf region as P.E.I. fishes when many other provinces are also active."

Until recently, the province published weekly price reports for lobster and other fish species, but they have discontinued that saying information in the price report was outdated by seven to 10 days.

"Industry has evolved with use of social media platforms to communicate across the sector," the statement said.

More P.E.I. news

With files from CBC Radio: Island Morning

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