It is early days, but the 2020 lobster season has gotten off to a good start when it comes to catches and weatherwise.
”Catches are looking pretty positive at least on this wharf,” Bobby Jenkins who fishes out of Annandale in southeastern PEI said.
Mr Jenkins, who is also the president of the PEI Fishermen’s Association, said despite rumors to the contrary circulating in early April buyers are on the wharves.
In the early days of discussing how the season would proceed in the face of COVID-19 some processors who didn’t know where the rules stood for bringing in temporary foreign workers, weren’t sure where they stood.
“That is dictating to our industry as well,” Mr Jenkins said.
In a normal season the price fishermen receive for their catch isn’t generally known this early in the season.
Even so Mr Jenkins said due to market conditions prices will be down from last season’s average range of $5.50 to $6.75.
Charlie McGeoghan, chairman of the Lobster Fishers of Prince Edward Island Marketing Board said when it comes to the market shore prices in neighbouring provinces as well as in Maine are showing signs of rebounding.
“Over the past number of years we’ve seen significant market growth in China, Asia and Europe for our premium quality lobster, this year however those markets are operating on a limited capacity or are in the early stages of market recovery,” he said.
COVID-19 also brought about changes on board the fishing boats and at the wharf.
People are social distancing aboard the boat whenever possible,” Mr Jenkin’s said explaining that when it comes time to unload the catch crews are staying in the boat rather than helping out on the wharf.
“We are just barely into the season and as time goes on we will adjust accordingly,” he added.
“Hopefully in 2021 Covid-19 will be just a memory for us all.”