Nova Scotia Journal

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Atlantic Canada lobster exports, costs skyrocket

Nova Scotia

Key takeaways: 

  • High costs may see the fineness being taken off several menus during the upcoming tourist season.
  • Lobster prices have been skyrocketing, setting the delicacy out of reach of numerous Atlantic Canadians. 

For numerous, summer in the Maritimes would not be done without fresh lobster.

But residents and tourists also should wish to shell out more for the crustaceans as costs reach historic highs.

“Our lobsters are gold-plated now. Costs have been the highest in retail history,” states Stewart Lamont, managing director of Tangier Lobster Co. Ltd, a live lobster exporter on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore.

Outbreak prices

When the pandemic struck, the export and restaurant industry market plunged. The shore’s worth of lobster — the amount fishers get at the pier from customers — dropped as low as 4 dollars a pound.

“There was an initial abundance of lobsters on the market at the beginning of the lockdown, but then it turned back the other way,” states Colin Sproul, president of the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association.

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High costs may see the fineness being taken off several menus

Sales of live and processed lobster reversed following the first wave of COVID-19.

Costs began to go up with demand and have persisted rising since.

Canadian lobster exports reached a staggering $3.26 billion the last year, surpassing the previous record of $2.59 billion, set in 2019, by nearly 25 percent.

With many clients saving money during the pandemic and limited travel or restaurant dining, the crustacean, long considered an extra item for special occasions, became a top dealer in the U.S.

“Americans purchased lobster during the pandemic like they never did before, which pushed up demand and cost,” states Geoff Irvine, the Lobster Council of Canada executive director.

While processed lobster — meat and tails — was highly needed in the U.S., live lobster sales rose in Asia.

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