TJ's Gem heads out with a load of lobster traps on setting day in P.E.I. Eric McCarthy photo
By Eric McCarthy
FOR THE SOU’WESTER
ALBERTON, P.E.I. — A drop in lobster landings from Monday’s first-day catch was expected, but the size of the drop was close to shocking.
Robert Arsenault, owner of Arsenault’s Fish Mart, said Monday’s Aug. 11 landings were actually better than the first day of the 2007 fall season. There were reports that some boats landed in excess of a ton of lobster. “We’re down 60 per cent from Monday,” Arsenault said of the second-day landings. Those landings, he added, were less than second-day landings last year.
Arsenault buys lobster at Howard’s Cove, Fisherman’s Cove and Higgins Wharf.
About 250 Prince Edward Island boats are engaged in the fall fishery.
The managing director of the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association, Ed Frenette, doesn’t expect any firm figures on prices until the end of the week, but he said rumours and speculation has the price at somewhere around $4 a pound for canners and $4.50 per pound for markets.
A stronger American dollar and lower crude oil prices could help with price, but he acknowledged there’s also indications that the market in the United States, where most of the catch is destined, is soft.
Frenette said Tignish Fisheries was able to find sales in Europe and Asia during the spring season, and suggested other processors will have to broaden their search for markets too.
Bait has been scarce, but Arsenault said bait is available off-Island and the price is starting to drop as the demand levels off. (Eric McCarthy is a journalist with Transcontinental Media’s Journal Pioneer, which is a contributor to the Sou’Wester.)