Trend Breaker MacLeod family

The McLeod family brought in a fresh load of lobster at the Georgetown wharf Monday morning. Family members aboard the Trend Breaker are Joey, Allison, Marshall and Travis McLeod. Josh Lewis photo

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Lobster fishers are looking at record high prices for their catches this season.

The price of $8 for canners and $8.50 to $9 for markets is being reported at wharves around the Island, Charlie McGeoghegan, chair of the Lobster Marketing Board of PEI, said. 

Wharf prices in 2020 were in the range of $4 and $4.25. 

“The expenses in the last 15 years went up 300 per cent so the price of lobsters up until now hasn’t lined up with the cost of production so we welcome it with open arms,” Mr McGeoghegan said, noting 2016 was the last time they came close to that topping out at $8.

Overall lobster fishers are reluctant to share specifics on actual catches but Edwin MacKie of Fortune said it is great to see a good price.

“The price goes up and the price goes down,” he said. “We don’t have much control over it.”

Whether or not the price they receive changes over the run of the season remains to be seen, he added.

Despite the choppy seas the first week of harvest has  been good, according to Mr MacKie and several other Island fishers.

In 2020 fishers were challenged with quotas and buyers that would not accept lobsters with just one crusher claw. The season was also uncertain due to COVID-19 and was delayed until May 15.

“You can’t really compare it with last year because there was a much longer delay in the start of the season,” Mr MacKie said.

This year the season was delayed just four days and that was due to high wind. 

He said the water temperature currently is hovering around the one degree mark most days and it will only go up from there.

Fishing out of the south side harbour since the early 1970s, Mr MacKie said no matter how many lobsters they catch, “there’s always room for more in the traps.” 

Mr MacGeoghegan said the high price has to do in part with the demand and because of that some wharves are seeing more buyers than ever before.

There is no supply sitting in the freezers like there was this time last year, he said.

“Domestically last year and so far this year the demand is way higher than it normally was,” Mr McGeoghegan said.

The increase in market demands in 2020 was an estimated 40 per cent mostly in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. 

Mr McGeoghegan sees those expanding this year along with more markets opening up in the US and China as economies bounce back.

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