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

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If you’re looking to buy a lobster fleet (licenses, boats, gear), it may cost more than you think.

Prices vary and depend on the port where the fleet seller was fishing. For example, prices may be higher if purchased from a port with a high lobster catch.

Mark Hackett is a broker who works with people looking to buy or sell gear such as fishing licenses, boats and traps.

He recently retired after 50 years of lobster fishing at Seacow Pond, PEI West.

Licenses purchased from ports with historically good catches can go for higher prices. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC)

According to Hackett, this is the highest price he’s ever seen, in some cases as high as $1.8 million.

“I never thought interest rates would be as high as they are now. They may start to fall, they may rise. I don’t know. ,” he said.

It was different when Hackett got into fishing.

Rise in catch and price

“When I started in the early ’80s, they [licences] At that time it was 25 grand. But no money was born. If there was nothing else to do, there was no catch, no price, so we couldn’t survive,” he said.

“Right now, catches are going up, prices are going up, license prices are going up … it’s just supply and demand.”

The Lobster Fleet consists of licenses, boats and gear required for fishing. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Hackett said some people let family members discount the price. But not always.

He said it’s been a busy time for him with four deals ready to be completed by the end of the month.

Hackett said the DFO can approve not just anyone to own a lobster license. He said he needs lobster fishing experience in his two years, at least five weeks a year. There is also paperwork that takes months. This is what a broker like him can help you with.

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

Charlie Maggioghegan said he started fishing himself 23 years ago.

He said at the time the cost of a lobster license for Lobster Fishing Ground 26a, south of PEI, was about $225,000. Looking back, MacGeoghegan says he wished he had bought a fishing license when it was half the price it used to be.

Good for retirees, but it makes it harder for young people to get into fishing.— Charlie Maggioghegan

He said the current prices are good for some people, but not for others.

“It’s great for those who retire. It’s much better for them, but it also makes it harder for young people to get into fishing,” he said.

“Any young fisherman who joins the company has to look very closely at their accounts to see what their fuel and bait costs will be. There is,” said McGuegan.

“So they have to take it all into account and get their wages out of it and take out loans for 20+ years to see if it makes sense. In some cases it does and Other times it’s not. That’s what the situation is like now.”

He said at PEI that when someone buys a lobster fleet, they usually stay in the port where the license was purchased.

Catches, lobster prices and interest rates are rising. (Sarah Fraser/CBC)

“Some ports have frozen ports…Some ports have so many boats congregating in the port that physical ports alone often don’t have room to accommodate more boats. was,” he said.

“And just keeping it where it is makes for more peace on the water. That’s usually how it works. You buy a license at a particular port and you fish there.”

interest rates determine the future

MacGeoghegan said it’s hard to say what will happen in the future. What’s his best advice for anyone trying to get in?

“I think I’ll say what some old fisherman told me when I graduated from high school. Decision,” he said.

He was told they weren’t going to wait five or ten years to help him, and it turned out they were right, MacGeoghegan said.

“But at the same time you want to make sound financial decisions….you also have to crunch the numbers to make sure it works. Consider, do those numbers, see those numbers: “Getting right is more important than ever.”

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