Photo Credit: Matt Corporon
LFA 34 is home to the most lucrative lobster fishing district in the world, with approximately 963 licences fishing from various ports in the district and accounting for approximately 40% of all Canadian lobster landed.
In the past, conditions were such that fisherman could simply fish and make a good living without worrying about the details. The Canadian dollar was favourable to exporting and catches were moderate creating average prices which made it possible for the captain and the crew to earn above average wages in the district.
In the past 10 years however, the tide has changed dramatically. Although landings have increased (due at least in part to fishing effort on the part of fisherman), real lobster ex-vessel prices have been in steady decline since 2005, resulting in an overall reduction in real ex-vessel revenues despite subsequent gains in productivity. According to statistics collected from D.F.O, real ex-vessel revenues have declined 55% or $164 million from 2005 to 2011.
The long-term economic profitability and sustainability of LFA 34 is largely determined by landed ex-vessel prices and the ability of the industry to control input costs. As evidenced by the data above; we have our work cut out for us.