A solid shore price and a quality catch are expected when the lobster fishing area (LFA) 35 fishery opens on Oct. 14 in the Bay of Fundy.
There’s a lot of anticipation around a really high price,” said Colin Sproul, president of the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association.
“We’ve seen tonnes of indication there’s an insatiable demand for lobster and snow crab both in China and Asia right now and there’s a big indication that our lobster coming on the market at that time, we can expect a really big price. We also know based on the way the molt was starting to progress when the season ended there’s going to be really good quality lobster this fall so, we’re predicting a nice hard shell, full lobster. I think the quality will be up. We know the price will be up. We’re predicting good things for the fall. Hopefully the catch will be there.”
Landings during the spring season in the LFA 35 fishery, which runs from the last day of February until July 31, were moderate, said Sproul but the shore price was very good, in the $9 to $11/pound range.
“Overall, the catches were moderate, but the price made a big difference. It made a halfway decent season for a lot of people,” said Sproul.
Going into September, shore prices in Prince Edward Island were in the $9.25 to $9.50/pound range, said Lockeport buyer Mike Cotter for canner and market size lobster.
“We’re not getting a big price on the other end for what you pay for them, but they are moving, knock on wood,” said Cotter.
Geoff Irvine, executive director of the Nova Scotia-based Lobster Council of Canada (LCC) said going into the fall “the live lobster market is steady with demand more or less constant in key markets worldwide as vaccines allow restaurants to fully open in Asia and the EU and the summer consumption period continues in North America.”
The market for processed lobster products (whole cooked/raw, tails and lobster meat) remains strong and seems to have hit a plateau after months of increases, said Irvine.
“Processors in all provinces are actively buying from the summer/fall season in LFA 25 and from Maine. They have also just been granted a three-month extension for their temporary foreign workers which is very important given the labour challenges in Canada, especially during the pandemic period. Demand is being driven by foodservice “snapback” in the U.S.A., European Union and Asia and continued strong retail demand.”
Irvine said there is concern “about the ongoing fourth wave of the pandemic and how that could impact demand this fall and into the winter.”
Meanwhile the LCC is implementing the second year of its marketing strategy with activities focused on social media in Canada (Instagram — LobsterCouncilofCanada) and the U.S., a new website in the European Union translated into French and Spanish, trade focused promotional articles and news stories in China and a Chef Ambassador program, said Irvine.
“We are also working with the provincial and the federal governments on two major projects to promote seafood from Canada (www.seafoodfromcanada.ca) in the Middle East and Asia. We are a major partner for the annual Global Gourmet Chef par excellence Culinary Competition in Shanghai, China in October where top chefs will use six Atlantic Canadian seafood species in the competition (lobster, snow crab, shell-on shrimp, redfish, mussels and salmon).”
Irvine said the LCC will be organizing another round of virtual business to business meetings via Zoom between Canadian exporters and importers in the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan and South Korea along with a Chef Demonstration at the World Expo in Dubai in February 2022.
The LFA 35 commercial fall fishery runs until Dec. 31.