May 6, 2009

Canadian lobster prices in the depths

Prices for Canadian lobster have plummeted, and some Prince Edward Island fishermen say they're reducing their catch or not bothering to work at all.

Processors and canners announced Tuesday most fishermen should cap their catches at 500 pounds with prices now at 1989 levels, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported from Charlottetown.

Markets are paying just $3.50 a pound and canners are paying $3 per pound, the report said.

The season opened Friday, and fishermen say there has been a good quality harvest so far.

With an eye to the global economic downturn, the province decided to issue 31 licenses for people to sell the lobsters directly to the public to stimulate consumption. The CBC said numerous pickup trucks parked at the side of roads could be seen offering cooked lobster for $5 a pound.

Last year, demand was lower and island processors froze what didn't sell immediately. By January they still had $30 million worth of lobsters still on hand, the report said.