“An all-time record price of 45¢ to 48¢ for ‘market’ lobster per pound appears in prospect for Prince Edward Island lobstermen for the 1964 spring lobster season, according to several veteran shore observers who reported yesterday, 3 May. There had been no firm price established up to the afternoon, but Joe Gaudin, manager of the Fishermen’s Co-op at North Rustico and Jerry Barry, equipment manager at a packing plant at Morell, agreed that the price would be the highest ever paid for the opening of the spring lobster season. In recent years, by comparison, the opening price was 37¢ per pound for ‘canners’ and 42¢ for the larger ‘market’ size crustaceans. The closing price for the spring last year (1963) was 40¢ and 50¢ but due to a delayed season opening and low catches, lobster fishermen did not fare very well.”
“The Guardian,” 4 May 1964.
Best Catch at Alberton
“The best catch at Alberton reported over the weekend was 500 lbs in one boat. However, Harvey Hutt, Manager Alberton Fisheries, said prospects for the 1964 season do not look too good, judging by results in the first few days. Catches at Tignish were said to be ‘fair’ though it was emphasized that it’s much too early to make accurate forecasts for 1964.”
“Fishermen in the Georgetown, Montague and Murray Harbour North areas were reporting a catch of half a pound to the trap. One man pulled 300 traps and boated 112 lbs. Two to three lbs would be really good, several fishermen observed.”
“A veteran observer noted that fishing along the south coast from Wood Islands to Victoria normally does not pick up until May 10th and 12th, though nobody has an explanation. Known among the fishermen as ‘Market ground’, because of the high percentage of large or market lobsters normally caught, this area reported a significant drop last year, and nobody had a logical explanation. Stewart Ross, Flat River, MLA and one of the top fishermen in the area, observed last spring that only the lobsters know why they are not trapping and the are not telling.”
Receiving High Price
“At Souris, a price of 50¢ per pound for ‘canners’ and 55¢ for ‘market’ lobsters was being paid yesterday (May 3) as early lobster catches began coming in. The early morning prices were 42¢ and 47¢ but this changed during the afternoon. Speculation in Souris is that the price may go even higher although this is an unusually high price for this early in the season. Catches in Souris have been averaging a pound per trap. Some boats landed 600 lbs loads but most were around 300 lbs.”
“At North Lake, a couple of boats landed 300 lbs per load and the average per trap was a pound and a half. In that area only 60 percent of the traps are in the water as fishermen have been experiencing ice at the harbour mouth and heavy seas. They hope to finish laying their traps tomorrow, May 5th.”
“At Naufrage, a pound per trap was the average, but there are a number of traps not yet in the water due to heavy seas in the area.”
The 1964 spring lobster season would see the unusually high price of lobsters for Island fishermen soar to 55¢ per pound for ‘canners’ and 60¢ for ‘markets’. Most fishermen were happy with the unexpected prosperity pricewise, though most of them were wishing they had larger catches to sell. The low catches were blamed on the cold water, as there had been few warm days in the spring of 1964.