Worldwide demand for lobster drives up the price of traditional Christmas treat
EASTERN PASSAGE, N.S. -- Many Maritimers will be enjoying a fresh atlantic lobster as part of their Christmas dinner, but don't be shocked if the price is a little higher than you're used to.
the demand for the crustaceans is growing far and wide, leading to increased prices.
Lobster season is in full swing in Nova Scotia and business is booming for those selling lobster both near and far.
"The demand from Europe, from the States is booming," said Jiu Chang, president, of Capital Seafood International. "We've been packing hundreds of boxes everyday just trying to supply all the customers over in Europe and the States."
This year's lobster season opened on Nov. 25 and fishermen say it has been mostly good so far, with warm waters and only a few days of bad weather.
Chang says the price opened up around $8 per pound, and has increased slightly to about $8.50 a pound.
"We're paying $8 plus for lobster on the shore, and just the past couple days the price has spiked again, so we're still trying to adjust our price to the market," Chang said.
Of course lobster is also sold closer to home, and some say there's no beating a fresh caught lobster sold out of the back of a truck.
"I've been doing this for 10 years and have a regular clientele, so I want to stay in this spot and keep selling," said lobster vendor Sherry Osborne. "It gets better and better every year, got regular customers that come every week."
Osborne is selling lobsters caught by her husband, son and daughter at $10 a pound.
"It's gone up quite a bit," Osborne said. "The Asian market has pushed it up, going overseas, yeah it's really good prices."
Customer Derek Roberts says lobster is not something he buys all the time, just for special occasions.
"The price isn't the biggest issue, the freshness is the biggest issue for me," Roberts said.
During the holiday season, the market for Nova Scotia lobster explodes, especially in Europe.
Last December alone, more than $127 million worth of Nova Scotia lobster was exported around the world.
For Chang, the export demand gets even larger after the holidays, with the Chinese New Year being celebrated on Jan. 25.
"Right now we're basically packing 1,000 pounds a day but buying more than that just trying to save enough for Chinese new year," Chang said."More than 70 per cent of our revenue is from there, so we have to satisfy our customers over there."
It's a busy time for those involved in one of Nova Scotia's largest exports, which will be part of Christmas dinners around the world.