Lobster boat, permit prices skyrocketing in Canada

Published on
March 19, 2018

Price tags on lobster vessels in Canada have reached new heights, according to a Prince Edward Island broker.

Mark Hackett, who works for the brokerage firm Tignish, has seen lobster fishing boats and their respective permits being sold for more than CAD 1 million (USD 763,519, EUR 621,727), he told CBC News. High lobster landing values combined with larger catch sizes in recent years have likely contributed to the current state of the market, Hackett reasoned.

"I've never seen [vessel prices] this high before," Hackett said. "A million plus."

"The demand is high for licenses … there's so many trying to buy right now it's driving the price up because there's very few sellers," he said. 

The region’s lobster industry is currently one of the most lucrative, Hackett said.

"There's not much other fisheries on the go that's making much money right now besides lobster fishing, so if you need to get in, you either got to get in or you get out," he said.

Shelley Deagle, who fishes for lobster in Naufrage, corroborated Hackett’s assessment.    

"Personally, I've had a couple of offers this fall and I wasn't even planning on selling," Deagle told the CBC. While the offers were tempting, Deagle turned them down. 

With vessel prices climbing, younger fishermen including Nigel MacDonald, 23, aren’t sure they’ll be able to buy into the trade. 

"I want to, but I just can't see it with the price of the fleets right now,” MacDonald said. "I don't think I'd be able to sleep at night knowing I have that much every year to pay."

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