Prices at the wharf for lobster taken from the waters in the Northumberland Strait are expected to fetch between $7 and $7.50 per lb., said Ron Heighten, president of the Northumberland Fishermen’s Association.
Heighton said the fishermen won’t know for sure what they will be paid until likely sometime this week but based on the higher-than-normal prices being paid elsewhere, wharf prices are also expected to be up along the North shore.
At the beginning of last year, processers and buyers were paying about $6.50/lb. for market-sized lobster compared to about $5.75/lb. for the same period in 2015.
And while Heighton said prices at the wharf had nudged up to between $7 and $7.50 per lb. at the end of last year’s lobster season, to start at that rate would be “the highest we’ve started at ever.”
“It would certainly make our bottom line better,” he said.
Part of the reason for the higher prices is the increased demand for lobster in China and other Asian markets, he said.
“A lot of them now are going to Asia,” Heighton said. “But Asia certainly can’t take them all.”
Lobster has been selling recently in local supermarkets at $15/lb., for markets and $16/lb. for selects.
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Lobster fishermen at mercy of buyers
TONEY RIVER – Lobster fishermen are completely at the mercy of processors and buyers when it comes time to sell their catches, says Ron Heighton, president of the Northumberland Fishermen’s Association.
And even though North Shore fisherman have been landing lobster for more than a week, they still don’t know for sure how much they will be paid, although Heighton said it appears the wharf prices will be upwards of $7/lb.
In his own, case, Heighton is a member of small fishermen’s co-op, which sells the lobster on their behalf. The fishermen receive a set rate and if there is an end-of-season profit on top of that, the money is split among co-op members.
In most cases, however, individual fishermen sell their catches to a pre-arranged buyer at rate determined by the buyers.