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Aquatic / Fishing

Lobster

  • 2019’s average price per pound of $4.82 marked a record high. 2020 pricing looked great until COVID-19, after which the loss of restaurant and export sales caused prices to fall significantly. The seasonal price decline normally seen in early summer has been more pronounced this year. Landing volumes been fairly consistent with last year.
  • Trade issues with China and Europe continue, which has put Canada in a more favorable position to capture export market share.
  • The Northern Right Whale was downgraded to “critically endangered” on July 9, with a total population now catalogued at fewer than 450 individuals and feared on the way towards extinction. While climate change may perhaps be the species’ greatest threat, vessel collisions and fishing gear entanglements are currently the most visible causes of mortality. There is a great deal of concern that measures to protect the remaining whales may severely impact the North Atlantic lobster industry. Rules regarding lobster lines and buoys are being developed, but so far have satisfied neither the lobster industry nor conservationists.

Scallops

  • Though scallops are a popular restaurant item, prices have held up generally well. Stocks and landings appear to be holding as well.

Groundfish

  • Pricing and catch levels generally remain steady for most species.
  • On June 5, President Trump announced the removal of fishing restrictions in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. The 5,000 square mile area off the coast of Southern New England was designated as a national monument in 2016. Its establishment was negatively viewed by commercial fishermen and hailed by conservationists, while the removal of restrictions has predictably drawn the opposite reactions. Despite this, it is unclear what effect it will have on commercial fishing as it is estimated that 5% or less of annual fish landings in the region came from within the monument prior to its establishment, and landings showed no declines afterwards, indicating that fishing was simply shifted elsewhere.