By Sarah Seeley
March 5, 2014
Regulating lobster prices, developing quality standards and promoting marketing are some of the recommendations made by a group looking into the situation facing P.E.I.’s lobster fishermen.
Colin Younker presented 10 recommendations from his review on the state of the P.E.I. industry to a legislative committee meeting March 4.
According to the report prepared by MRSB Consulting Services, 92 per cent of landed P.E.I. lobster is processed and only eight per cent of it is marketed live.
But the review found the average net margin for processors was negative one per cent, while the net margin for commissioned buyers was one per cent.
Charlottetown MLA Richard Brown said P.E.I. should increase its influence in the live market.
“It would seem like a no-brainer.”
Belfast-Murray River MLA Charles McGeoghegan said the Island industry should invest in a cold-water holding facility for live lobsters.
“The colder the water, the longer they last.”
Younker said there is a possibility of building a facility.
“I think there’s an opportunity there.”
There has been a decline in daily processing in excess of 100,000 pounds since 2011, said Younker.
“There’s more supply than buyers can handle.”
International exchange is a factor in the shoreline price. The rates declined 13 per cent from 2008 to 2013. A $4 Canadian lobster cost $3.91 in 2013. It cost $3.77 in 2008 and $2.57 in 2002, said Younker.
“The price was realistic, but it wasn’t reasonable.”
Younker proposed a price-setting mechanism should be put in place, similar to the one in the agriculture industry, but the provincial government won’t act on it until a feasibility study has been done.
“Everyone’s working toward a higher price. It won’t be easy.”