The lobster boat from the gaspé Jeffrey Vautier believes that he and his colleagues are doing in the year 2020, if one thinks of the worries of April.
17 June 2020 17h48
Updated at 18h03
A season of lobster far better than expected in the Gaspé
SAINT-GODEFROI — two months ago, the biggest concerns was, in the Gaspé over the pace that would take the fishing season and processing of the lobster, because of the pandemic of COVID-19. The elongation of two weeks of the season of the catch in the main area of the peninsula, an announcement that occurred on Monday, therefore, means that everything is going much better than expected.
In announcing that the season of the catch in the 20 area, which covers three-quarters of the south coast in the gaspé, if étirerait until 16 July, the federal department of Fisheries and Oceans has responded to a request expressed by the Regroupement des pêcheurs professionnels du sud de la Gaspésie, which represents 149 the lobster harvesters in the region. One-hundred-thirty-six of the 149 fishermen are in the zone 20.
In April, there had been discussion of limiting the length of the season, shortening it from 10 to eight, and even less, the number of weeks of capture. It was also a question of reducing the number of traps per angler and establish a daily bag limit.
The season started two weeks later than expected, on may 9 instead of April 25 in order to avoid the start the worst of the pandemic. Lobster harvesters from the zone 20 had to finish the 2 July, after eight weeks. This is finally the 16th July. Their colleagues from the zone 21, the bottom of the bay des Chaleurs, and the area 19, of the north side of the Gaspé peninsula, will end on 16 and 18 July, respectively.
“It will have been less worse than expected. The fishing has been good and there are still markets,” summed up Roch Lelièvre, from the factory Lelièvre, Lelièvre and Lemoignan, of Sainte-Thérèse-de-Gaspé, a buyer acquiring the taken of 14 lobster in the gaspé peninsula.
The lobster in the gaspé peninsula have obtained an average of 6.78 per pound in the season 2019. In march, the effects of the pandemic were so critical that in Nova Scotia, where there’s a lot of winter fishing, the lobster boats were offered about$ 2 a pound. Well buyers, or wholesalers, and did nothing.
“Everyone in Nova Scotia had stored to sell in China for the chinese New year, at the end of January, but there was no way to sell in Asia because of the pandemic,” said Mr Lelievre.
The stopping of fishing in Nova Scotia for weeks, and the late start of the catch in New Brunswick and the Gaspé region have had the effect to reduce the inventories stored in the beginning of the year.
“It will have been less worse than expected. The fishing has been good and there are still market. ”
Roch Lelièvre, from the factory Lelièvre, Lelièvre and Lemoignan, of Sainte-Thérèse-de-Gaspé
The industry in the gaspé lobster is not immune to hiccups related to the COVID-19 but Roch Lelièvre believes that they will not be enough to spoil the next month.
“China has to stop buying live lobster, to cause a second wave of the pandemic. It has sales contracts in China for frozen lobster and it is not worried. We know that they will be respected. It may slow down the market, stopping chinese purchases of “living”, but not stop it. The market is still good. The restaurants reopened. This week, it is good on the Montreal market. The father’s day is coming up,” stresses Roch Lelièvre.
Up to now, the price curve available for lobster is much higher than what the industry people are expected in April, although this is significantly less advantageous than that in 2019. The fishermen have obtained 6,40 per pound in the first week, and then 5,01$ in the second, and then a$ 4.50 during the three weeks following.
This price of$ 4.50 was paid in the Gaspé peninsula. It was higher than the price offered in the Îles-de-la-Madeleine and New Brunswick. The price of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine is, however, the reference price in the Gaspé peninsula for the past four years.
“We paid a little bit more expensive in the Gaspé because we knew we were capable of doing our own expense and even a slight profit with a price of$ 4.50 per book,” says Lelièvre. The other buyers of lobster of the Gaspé region have adopted the same policy of higher price.
A PROCESSING CAPACITY AND A PLURALITY Of BUYERS FAVOURING THE GASPÉ peninsula
Lelièvre, Lelièvre and Lemoignan, as some of the other business women, makes them happy in the Gaspé with a higher price than expected. These plants of the gaspé peninsula are also of the fishermen met among the many lobster harvesters in New Brunswick by buying their catch at a price higher than what is paid in this maritime province.
They have made these purchases without imposing a daily quota for lobster new brunswickers, with the exception of a very short period of time at the end of may and beginning of June. The buyers of lobster of this province have generally imposed daily limits.
“It is our capacity of transformation that allows us to do that. There is a lack of manpower in the factories in new brunswick but not in the Gaspé,” says Roch Lelièvre.
The plants of New Brunswick have been able to count on the contribution of 2000 mexican workers this year because of the COVID-19. In Sainte-Thérèse-de-Gaspé, Lelièvre, Lelièvre and Lemoignan has been able to count on a thirty Mexicans since the beginning of June. “It makes a difference,” notes Mr. Lelievre.
The lobster boat Jeffrey Vautier, of Shigawake, says, “we are lucky in the Gaspé region have more plants to sell to the lobster. In New Brunswick, there are only two large buyers and it is a factor which leads to limits, daily catch for the fishermen,” he said.
Mr Vautier has managed to maintain the volume of taken in 2020, compared to 2019. “We receive less as a prize this year, but nobody expected it to receive so much. It is fortunate when even this year,” he adds.
The value of landings amounted to 142 million (M) $ for the lobster quebec in 2019, of which 78.5 Million $ in the Îles-de-la-Madeleine and $ 45 Million in the Gaspé peninsula.