Just like their counterparts in New Brunswick, fall lobster fishers in P.E.I. are disappointed with the price they’re receiving at the wharf.
Fishers from the two provinces share Area 25 along the Northumberland Strait, with the Island zone stretching from Victoria up to North Cape.
After the opening week of the seasons, prices on both sides of the Strait were in the range of $4 to $4.25 for canners and $4.50 to $4.75 for market lobster. By contrast, the price reached as high as $7 for canners and $7.50 for market lobsters during the spring season and were in the $6 to $6.50 range last fall.
Area 25 is currently the only fishery open in the region and the association was hoping the relatively low volume would lead to relatively good prices. In addition to the decreased prices, fishers are also adjusting to an increase in the carapace size from 73 to 75 millimetres. The move, which is strongly supported in New Brunswick, but opposed on the Island, is part of a three-year plan to take the minimum size to 77 millimetres.
Ian MacPherson, executive director of the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association, says the group has been advised one of the reasons for the change is the rising value of the loonie in relation to the American dollar.
“The information collected by PEIFA doesn’t justify a $2 drop in price, but industry representatives argue the exchange rate is a key factor,” PEIFA says in a statement.
The association, together with the Prince County Fishermen’s Association (the local that represents the Area 25 Island fishers) pledged to continue the fight for “fair and equitable prices” as the season goes forward.
While 50 boats in New Brunswick did tie up early in the season outside a processing plant in Saint Anne de Kent to protest the low prices, island boats were still on the water heading into the last full week of August.