Low lobster price impacting fishermen17 Aug 2023

Bahamas LobsterLobster is priced at $7 a pound this year

The price of spiny lobster on the global market has hit a low of $7 per pound, a slump in price not seen in many years, prompting some smaller fishermen to call the season a loss from the start, President of the Bahamas Commercial Fishers Alliance (BCFA) Adrian LaRoda said yesterday.

LaRoda, who made the comments during an appearance on radio talk show “Morning Blend Business” on Guardian Radio 96.9 FM, said almost 20 percent of the fishermen who look forward to this season are saying the low price means it will cost them too much to make the trek out to sea, with too little to gain when they return.

LaRoda added that the larger fishermen, who make their livelihoods off of spiny lobsters season, will go out to sea as usual.

“A lot of them are not going to go out because the price of the product now is at an all-time low,” said LaRoda.

“For a lot of folks it’s probably not worth their time to go out and fish, if there are

indications that we’re going to be getting about $7 a pound for lobster, as opposed to last year starting around $15 to $17.

“Mid to late season last year you were getting as much as $25 per pound. So, you can see there’s a big difference now.”

There is continuing competition from other exporting countries

According to LaRoda, the COVID-19 pandemic led to fewer people eating out, which meant there was not a high demand for the product and excess supply remained on the market.

He said there is also continuing competition from other countries that export spiny lobster.

“In speaking with a number of the major wholesalers here, there seems to be an oversupply of product,” said LaRoda.

“A lot of the markets that we service, which are primarily the European and American markets, they had an overabundance of product… lobster is a luxury item and nobody was dining out.

“The foreign buyers had to hold on to the product and it wasn’t selling as it normally would, under normal economic situations. So, now we are a couple of years out of COVID, but there still is an abundance of product. And two, we have competition from other countries. We’re not the only country in the world supplying spiny lobster or rock lobster. So, those things factor into the cost of of the product for us to our wholesalers.”

LaRoda said the BCFA expects the price of spiny lobster to increase as the season progresses, and as people begin to dine out more.

According to LaRoda, the low cost of fisheries products is pervasive across the Caribbean because of an oversupply in many different types of seafood, stemming from the global COVID-19-related economic slowdown.

“You have countries like Guyana, they can’t sell their product, and they’re begging people to basically buy their product,” he said. “Again, this is because of oversupply.”

Source: Nassau Guardian