By Teresa Wright
FOR THE SOU’WESTER
Transcontinental Media/Journal Pioneer
Granting P.E.I. lobster fishermen permission to sell lobsters directly to consumers was a big boost to an industry in crisis, says a representative of the P.E.I. Fisherman’s Association.
Speaking at the fifth annual Lobster Science Workshop in Charlottetown, Craig Avery detailed the struggles Island fishers have been facing with this year’s record low lobster prices and declining demand.
This year’s spring fishery was thrown into turmoil when some buyers and processors refused to buy fish because of an over supply.
So when the provincial government changed its regulations and allowed fisherman to apply for peddler’s licences, more than 50 Island fishers took advantage of this new opportunity.
This gave the fisherman the ability to sell their lobsters for $4 to $6 directly to consumers at a time then processors were only offering $2.75 to $3 per pound for canners and only $3.50 for market lobsters. “It gave us the opportunity to go out and sell our own lobsters and I’m quite happy with the government coming up with this initiative,” Avery said. “It worked out quite well."
Avery said he believes it not only boosted a few pocket books, but also boosted morale among the Island’s lobster fishers during a deeply difficult time in the industry. “It sure gave me a little bit of an incentive to get out of bed some mornings instead of coming in and putting my lobsters on the wharf and getting $2.75 for canners,” he said. “Basically the outcome was a success.”
Avery joined key stakeholders of P.E.I.’s lobster fishing industry at the Lobster Science Workshop to discuss the current crisis in the industry and come up with strategies to maintain a quality product through difficult times.
Federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea spoke to the group of fishers, processors and retailers at the workshop. She encouraged them to work collaboratively and form industry partnerships to come up with solutions for the struggling sector. “With these kinds of partnerships we will help protect the species for the future,” Shea said. “There are still many areas to examine, pressing issues like invasive species, rapidly changing global markets are begging to be explored...Your research and work will aid in the lobster industry’s recovery.”
Lobster fishermen, processors and retailers were also encouraged to work with other provinces and even with their counterparts in the United States to try to come up with industry-wide solutions.
Fisherman’s association lauds sale of peddler’s licences
By Teresa Wright
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