Canadian Lobster Fishermen Demand More Money for Their Catch

It makes them so mad!
It makes them so mad!

Higher-than-usual temperatures once again are prompting industry fear that there may be a surplus of lobsters in the pots in the waters off Maine and in Canada, and so a coalition of fishermen on Prince Edward Island have preemptively initiated a new round of civil disobedience at the docks. They’re boycotting and blocking the ports because the sudden and prolific appearance of lobsters, a month or so ahead of schedule, suggests a reprise of last season’s record-catch debacle, where the glut of soft-shell lobsters induced the wholesale market to drop dockside payouts to a record low $2.69 per pound. Citing the high cost and risks associated with hauling lobsters, several fishermen are demanding a flat $5 a pound for the season, compared to the current average $3 per pound wholesale price. Is $2 more a pound too much to pay for live lobster at the source when there’s a lobster roll purveyor on every other corner in New York City? Yes, it would seem so, because when it comes to the lobster industry, a rising tide decidedly does not lift all boats.

“The only people not making money from lobster is us,” a fisherman named Donnie Johnston tells the Herald, reflecting a prevalent point of view. Even as wholesale prices plummet, the people who serve lobster, such as lobster-roll-makers, argue that they cannot drop their prices — which skyrocket up to $28 per roll, locally — because of the cumulative and associated price of doing business, including truckers and other middlemen. “Then I have costs associated with doing business,” Ed McFarland told Capital in 2010. “So there’s insurance, there’s payroll, there’s gas, electric, and in New York City, there’s rent and real estate tax, which is expensive.”

P.E.I. lobster fishermen demand $5 per pound [Chronicle Herald]
Lobster brawl: Why Canada and the U.S. may clash again [Star]
Earlier: Are Lobster Rolls Better in France?