‘It’s Going to Take a Fairly Expensive Lobster to Keep the Fleet Going’
Not a lot of lobster were being landed by lobster fishing area (LFA) 33 and 34 fishermen as April was winding down and the commercial season was going into its final month.
“It’s been an interesting spring,” says Tommy Amirault, president of the Coldwater Lobster Association. “We’ve seen the price as high as it’s ever been, mind you there wasn’t very many lobster coming ashore. With the price of fuel, bait and everything, I don’t think the end number was as good as it looked… It’s going to take a fairly expensive lobster to keep the fleet going with the price of everything going up.”
The shore price peaked at $18/pound this spring in southwestern Nova Scotia and was in the $10/pound range at the end of April, which is still a good price said Amirault, but there is still not a lot of lobster being caught.
“The water is cold, the weather has been a challenge since the start of the season really,” says Amirault, adding most fishermen in LFAs 33, 34, 35 and 38 are saying they are having a slow spring.
“I hear a lot of guys are going more or less to tend their gear and hoping the lobster come on. There’s just a little over a month left and no sign of anything big yet.”
Lockeport buyer Mike Cotter said the water has “got to warm up quite a bit to get those lobster moving some. The catches have not been good. The water is still very, very cold and the catches are still low.”
Cotter said once the lobster fishery opens in Prince Edward Island, Cape Breton and the Northumberland Shore, he expects the shore price will go down a bit again. The lobster season is now also open in many areas of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Market-wise, China is very slow with very little lobster going there and the U.S. market is almost completely dead, said Cotter. “There a little bit of crate run going there, but not a lot.”
Geoff Irvine, executive director of the Lobster Council of Canada said given that it is April/May and the market is dealing with COVID-19 lockdowns in China, severe food inflation in North America and the war in Ukraine, “this is a good time to simply say we need to see how this plays out.”