With demand high and more buyers on the wharfs, lobster prices for P.E.I. fishermen are looking stronger than they have in 15 years.
With the season along the North Shore and the eastern end of P.E.I. opening Monday, Charlie McGeoghegan, chair of the Lobster Marketing Board of P.E.I., said early prices are running around $8 for canners and $8.50 for markets.
"The price in Nova Scotia was high all winter so we expected it to be better than last year, and it is, so we're glad to see that," said McGeoghegan.
"There's lots of demand around and lots of orders. And they didn't get enough to fill the orders last year. So that's kind of a scenario that we haven't seen before, so that's a good thing."
There is no inventory left from last year, said McGeoghegan.
At the end of last season prices were mostly running between $5 and $6, with some buyers paying up to $6.50. In 2006 prices went as high as $7, which with the increase in costs since is comparable, he said.
Prices are expected to go up as the season progresses.
"A few of the big [fishing] zones in the Maritimes and the Fundy region close down at the end of May, so there's a lot less product around at that time," said McGeoghegan.
"That usually helps the price."
The lobster industry faced a lot of unknowns in 2020.
Public health restrictions in the pandemic made it difficult for processors to get temporary foreign workers into the country, and the impact on demand from the shutdown of restaurant dining rooms and cruise ships was not known.
But the industry is finding itself in a much stronger position at the start of the season this year.
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