2009年08月12日

Lobster fishers face break-even point of $3.75/lb.

Lobster fishers face break-even point of $3.75/lb.
Article online since August 11st 2009, 13:33
By Eric McCarthy
lobster%20surprise-2.jpg
Transcontinental Media/Journal Pioneer
ALBERTON, P.E.I. – Fall lobster fishers need to average around $3.75 a pound just to break even, according to Ed Frenette, executive director of the P.E.I. Fishermen Association.

What they will actually receive, though, is still anyone’s guess.

“Same as we always know at this time of year: nothing,” Frenette responded when asked about fall lobster prices. The season opened Aug. 11.

Frenette said there is still some processed and frozen product in storage from the spring season in storage, but he believes companies are heading into the fall season in good shape.

Because of the Prince County Fishermen Association’s licence buy-back program, there will be 24 fewer boats participating in the fishery this fall. Still remaining are 235 P.E.I. boats, 506 from New Brunswick and 16 from Nova Scotia. While P.E.I., New Brunswick and Nova Scotia boats are allowed to set their gear anywhere in LFA 25, they must return to the province in which they are registered to offload catches.

Frenette said fishers are largely left in the dark about prices.

“It’s really necessary that we get to the table.”



Lobster woes still being reported in the U.S.
Article online since August 9th 2009, 10:13

By Kathy Johnson

It appears the marketing situation facing the lobster industry is no better south of the border this summer than it was in southwestern Nova Scotia this past season.

Shore prices as low as $2.35 a pound were being paid to Maine fishermen last month, with the situation only slightly better further down the New England coast.

“It’s a sad situation down here,” said Bill Adler, executive director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, with fishermen in that state getting $2.75 to $3 for a straight run, compared to $4.25 to $4.75 a year ago.

Adler said some buyers are offering a split price; $2.50 for soft-shelled lobsters and $4 for hard shelled crustaceans.

However, considering the bulk of the catch is soft-shelled, the fishermen “can’t possible break even,” said Adler. “They need a minimum of $4 just to meet expenses.”

As has been the case since early last fall, the global economic crisis has caused a market meltdown for the finer things in life including lobster.

“Because of the economy the restaurants are down 30 to 40 per cent on all meals, not just lobster,” said Adler. “Lobster is one of those things that people love but because of the economy everybody is cutting back.”

In the Boston area, demand on the live market can be accommodated by the local catch, eliminating the need to import hard-shelled crustaceans from Canada, said Adler.

“I know people in Canada who have hard shelled lobsters they want $5 to $5.50 for to bring into Boston but we just don’t have the markets so we’re using local product instead,” he said.

Adler said while supermarket specials are helping to move product, if the price goes up, it shuts down the demand.

“There’s got to be some happy medium,” said Adler. “Not an exorbitant price but not giving them away either.”

Over the past decade one factor that has helped the New England summer lobster fishery is that Canadian processors have bought up a lot of the soft-shelled inventory helping to prevent a glutted market.

This year, while the processors are buying, they’re only willing to pay $2.50 to $2.85 a pound said Adler, which is a price too low for fishermen to make profit. “When it’s cheaper than bologna, that’s ridiculous,” said Adler.

The Atlantic Canada lobster fishery has also been hard hit over the past year with depressed marketing conditions.

More than $75 million has been earmarked by the federal and provincial governments to assist the industry, including $15 million in immediate, short-term support to help compensate lobster-dependent harvesters for a portion of lost income resulting from the decline in the value of lobster landings.

It is projected that 3,000 fishermen from across Atlantic Canada will qualify for the one-time support funding, which is capped at $5,000.

It is expected the assistance program will be implemented this fall.
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