Low lobster prices, high fuel prices bad news
Seasoned fisherman Merrill Jamieson ties buoys onto a wagon loaded with lobster fishing traps he pulled from the Northumberland Strait on Monday, June 23.
Wallace - Merrill Jamieson began landing his lobster fishing gear on Monday, a week before the season is scheduled to close.
At age 71, the experienced fishermen said he has seen good years and bad years but this was one of the worst yet.
The price last year at times was as high as $7 per pound and this year its been pretty much the same since the beginning about $5, he said.
The catches may have been a little better than last year but with the price of fuel so high, overall youre still going backwards.
In May, at the opening of the two-month long lobster fishing season, diesel fuel cost $1.07 a litre, plus taxes. The last time Jamieson fueled up his boat he paid $1.21 a litre, an increase of about 13 per cent during the past eight weeks and 38 per cent higher than last fishing season when diesel was selling for about $0.75 a litre.
Toney River fisherman Jack Johnson, shared Jamiesons concerns and said fishermen this season were also faced with high bait prices, chronic poor weather and at one point were uncertain if buyers would even take their catch.
It was a concern in a lot of places, said Johnson a fishermen seasoned with 50 years experience.
I never thought Id see the day in my life time when you couldnt sell a lobster.
He said the market was flooded with lobster causing a chain reaction with processors who were experiencing decreases in the live-lobster market and increased processing costs.
It was a bad year all the way around, he said Theres a lot of them (fishermen) that I dont know how they are going to hold on financially.
The spring lobster fishing season along the Northumberland coast , from Pugwash to Havre Boucher, will close on June 30.