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Looking to get into lobster fishing? You’ll need deep pockets

In the event you’re seeking to buy a lobster fleet — licence, boat and kit — it could price you greater than you suppose. 

There is a vary, and the worth depends upon the harbour the place the individual promoting the fleet has been fishing. For instance, the worth could possibly be larger if it is being purchased from a harbour that is seen larger lobster catches. 

Mark Hackett is a dealer who works with folks seeking to purchase and promote fishing licences, boats and kit, akin to traps. 

He lately retired after 50 years of fishing for lobster out of Seacow Pond in western P.E.I. 

Licences purchased out of harbours which have traditionally good catches can go for a better value. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC)

Hackett stated these are the best costs he is ever seen — as much as $1.8 million in some circumstances. 

“I by no means ever thought they’d be as excessive as they’re now. It might begin dropping, or it might go larger. I don’t know. Looks as if there isn’t any downturn but. It might drop proper down, relying on the rate of interest,” he stated. 

It was completely different when Hackett obtained into the fishery. 

Catches and costs going up

“Again after I began again within the early 80s, they [licences] have been 25 grand again then. However there was no cash being made. If you did not have one thing else to do, you’d by no means survive as a result of the catches weren’t there and the worth wasn’t there,” he stated. 

“Now the catches are going up, the worth goes up, it is driving the worth of licences up … simply provide and demand.”

Lobster fleets are made up of the licence, boat and kit wanted to fish. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Hackett stated typically folks will give their relations a break on the worth. However not all the time. 

He stated it is a busy time of yr for him, with 4 offers able to be completed by the tip of the month. In a median yr, he’d make eight transactions for lobster fleets. 

Hackett stated not simply anybody may be permitted by DFO to personal a lobster licence. He stated you want two years’ expertise lobster fishing, for at the least 5 weeks a yr. And there is paperwork that may take months — one thing a dealer like himself can assist with. 

Man with short red hair in blue T-shirt stands on dock next to a pile of lobster traps. In the background is a lobster fishing boat in the water.
Charlie MacGeoghegan has been fishing on his personal for 23 years. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Charlie MacGeoghegan stated he began fishing on his personal 23 years in the past.

He stated again then a lobster licence in lobster fishing space 26a on P.E.I.’s south aspect price round $225,000. Looking back, MacGeoghegan stated he needs he’d purchased his a fishing licence earlier, when it was about half as a lot. 

It is nice for the blokes who’re retiring … however it makes it laborious for the younger guys moving into the fishery.— Charlie MacGeoghegan

He stated the present value is sweet for some, however not others.

“It is nice for the blokes who’re retiring. It is quite a bit higher for them however it makes it laborious for the younger guys moving into the fishery as effectively,” he stated. 

“Any of the younger fishermen getting in should actually take a look at their accounting very near see what their gas payments are going to be and what their bait invoice goes be. And there’s fastened prices like employed assist and insurance coverage and issues like that,” stated MacGeoghegan.

“So that they should issue all that in after which be capable of take a wage out of it and put their mortgage over 20 years and see if it is smart or not. In some circumstances it does and different circumstances it does not, in order that’s sort of the place issues are at proper now.”

He stated on P.E.I. when somebody buys a lobster fleet, they normally keep within the harbour the place the licence was bought. 

Catches, lobster costs and rates of interest have been growing. (Sara Fraser/CBC)

“Some harbours put harbour freezes in … some harbours have been getting plenty of boats congregating at their harbour and simply the bodily harbour did not have room for extra boats in plenty of circumstances,” he stated.

“And it retains much more peace on the water if you happen to simply hold it the place it was. Sometimes that is the best way it really works, is you purchase a licence in a sure harbour and also you fish it there.”

Rates of interest might decide the long run 

MacGeoghegan stated it is laborious to say what’s going to occur sooner or later. His greatest recommendation for somebody seeking to get in?

“I suppose I might say what among the older fishermen informed me after I was getting out of highschool. They stated if you happen to actually get pleasure from fishing and that that is what you need to do ultimately, then you definitely simply gotta decide,” he stated.

He stated they informed him ready 5 or 10 years wasn’t going to assist him. MacGeoghegan stated, it seems they have been proper.

“However on the similar time, you need to make a sound monetary determination…. You gotta run the numbers too and be sure that it really works and proper now with rates of interest and the price of licences, doing these numbers and ensuring they’re proper is extra vital than ever.”

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