May 25, 2018
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND FISHERMEN'S ASSOCIATION
News Release for immediate release Friday May 25, 2018
PEI Harvesters Confused and Frustrated by Spring lobster prices.
With the Spring lobster season almost 50% complete, the harvesters of Prince Edward Island are experiencing a season that is both confusing and frustrating in terms of the price being paid to harvesters at the wharf.
Since 2013 the lobster industry on PEI has experienced positive change in a number of areas.
Historical factors such as the US dollar exchange rate, economic performance in Europe and the United States, surplus product inventories and the lack of short term storage have all been factors in impacting the shore price of lobster, many times in a negative way.
As of Spring 2018 we find a US dollar exchange rate that is favourable to Canadian exports. The economies of the United States, Europe and Asia are all performing well. Spring 2018 also marks the start of lower tariffs on lobster in the European Economic Union (EU) which will progressively eliminate all existing tariffs on lobster over the next 5 to 7 years.
2017 catches in Maine decreased by over 30 million pounds and steady consumer demand in a number of countries have contributed to low product inventories. In addition live holding capacity on PEI has increased by 80% since 2013.
Unfortunately, the current prices paid to harvesters are comparable to prices paid in 2002.
A recent canvas of 5 retail operations on Prince Edward Island show live prices charged to consumers are up to double what is being received by the harvesters at the wharf.
Currently the harvesting sector on PEI is spending over 300k annually in promoting PEI lobster. This promotion is in the absence of sector participation by Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in a marketing levy that would promote Canadian lobster.
The harvesting sector on PEI has worked diligently since 2013 to improve the lobster industry. Many harvesters are upgrading on board storage and purchasing other equipment to keep our lobster in top condition. This is under a program that is funded by the Federal government, the Province of PEI and PEIFA members.
The current trends that are developing in 2018 are a concern to harvesters and to date no reasonable explanations have been provided as to the price decreases.
All sectors of the supply chain require a fair return on capital. The current price differential is conservatively estimated to decrease direct spending on Prince Edward Island by over 60 million dollars.
The facts have been presented and it is now time for the other sectors of the lobster industry to assist in stemming the current tide of decreasing price. The lobster industry and the economies of Atlantic Canada can ill afford to return to the boom and bust cycles of the past.
Contacts PEIFA President Bobby Jenkins (902) 969-8995 or PEIFA Executive Director Ian MacPherson at (902) 566-4050 ext. 5