Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lobster, the new bologna

I guess they must be talking about grocery chains in my area. I have never seen such high prices for bologna anywhere else.

Let me start my little rant on this by saying I agree with little that is in the above article. Having lived a good part of my life in the Maritime provinces, I know something about lobster, lobster fishers and the lobster industry.

First rule of thumb when a lobster fisher complains about prices. Smile a wry smile and walk away. Most of these folk, only fish lobster these days because they do well enough with just that. Some fish crab if they are in the right areas and some will fish their own bait, but not many bother with ground fish anymore.

Back in the nineties, the average income from lobster fishing was $100,000.00 Not to shabby really, especially when you consider they can only fish one season, and that is about 6 weeks long. Add time for preparing and repairing traps and gear and maybe a weeks fishing for bait and the time investment is about 2 1/2 months to 3 months. Plus boat maintenance. Now it doesn't stop there, as these fishers are about the only Canadian's I know of who can be self employed and still draw EI. Not only that, for many many years they would employ son's or daughters and the wife, on paper usually, so they could draw EI as well. Now that's no shabby EI I'm talking about here. It's the maximum allowed. It didn't end there either for many, as what they did with themselves the rest of the year was up to them. Many worked under the table as they say, so their yearly incomes were really ok. They weren't hurting.

To be fair, I will say those getting into the industry in recent years did have to pay a hefty amount for a fishing license, something in the area of $100 grand. Those who have been at it for a long time didn't have to pay that. Plus they had to pay for the boat and expenses. And it's not everyone who wants to be on the water at day break ready to fish regardless of whether it's cold, rainy or whatever.

Still, add it all up and they do ok, in fact much better than most. Excluding civil servants of course. Remember, the Maritimes is not Calgary or TO and certainly not Vancouver. Houses and land are reasonable here, and it doesn't take $75 G's annual income just to have the norm.

The last thing I will say about the fishers, is that many of them are their own worst enemy. By that I mean they take too much catch, and are notorious for sneaking under sized lobster into the cook pot onboard or stashing it in feed bags tied to booeys to be retrieved after dark. They are also supposed to throw back females with visible eggs, but many don't. They just knock off what can be seen and keep them anyway. All of this contributes to reduced stocks and damages the long term health of their industry.

Enough of the lash for the fishers, now I'll turn my attention to the corporate marketeers and the governments.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, large amounts of lobster and other seafoods were sold directly from the processing plants to small entrepeneurs who busied themselves going into all the nooks and crannies of the region selling these goods to operators of all sizes. Everything from Joe's Fish and Chip stand and Mary's Corner Store to upscale Restaurant establishments. This provided not only exposure that products such as frozen tinned lobster, aka Cold pack, wouldn't have had otherwise, it also gave incentive for retailers to run specials using these products and taking advantage of the price reductions that came from dealing directly with sellers whose overhead costs were small. Now enter the Corporate Giants. They didn't like this as it cut into their markets so they used their considerable influence to disuade processors from selling to these small entities. It worked of course, and the little guys selling a truck load of seafood every few days went the way of the Dinosaurs. As did the extra market capacity they encouraged.

So, now they have a major problem with excess inventory due to the recession and the answer to that is ?????? Bring in the government tardmuffins of course. Do I hear bailout??? Another $500,000.00 pissed down that gigantic hole we like to call assisting private enterprise. Yah right. Assisting the politically faithful is more like it.

Am I ranting yet? I hope so.

Here's the way it should work, the way it used to work. This isn't our first recession and the phrase "hard times in the Maritimes" was coined for this reason. Tell the processors to discount this inventory. Call for private tenders on large lots and set a floor price based on volume for cash and carry type purchases. Let the little guys and gals take this stuff and run with it at discount prices and I guarantee they will leave no stone unturned in finding and promoting market.

Besides that, go on a drive with the Giant retailers and their Commercial food service supply arms. Get some deals and some private advertising bucks to work and see how fast this inventory cleans itself up. It's not like there isn't market for it at the right price.

Oh yes, almost forgot. That comparison between lobster prices and bologna was irresponsible anyway. Bologna may well be $3.50 per pound but that is the price at the wharf. Few people can buy from the wharf.

Rant over.


  1. And they still or will deny that they've done nothing wrong.....

    Almost upchucked my lunch.

  2. Well, good, hotdamn and all that. Yo! Apparently, I'm still alive (strange), but here goes . . .
    Twenty single cartoons about AIG. Wasn't AIG a joke to begin with?! --
    Similar to what Russia proposed a day or two ago, except now it's gone a step further. Hmmmmm. The Thinker Returneth For Furthereth Thoughteth.

    Wonder if THIS is the pre-planned takedown, not of the world's economies, but of the US greenback -- let the dollar become worthless, cancel all debt obligations to China, Japan and other countries (they're both offloading / dumping the buck now and several months ago, Japan strongly urged China to get rid of the greenback), have a rebirth with the Amero (the Peso and Loonie maybe toast), throw in a world war and let God sort sort everyone out?

    The Fed is running the money-presses flat out, as are the UK, Canada and others yet, for the most part, physical currencies don't exist now -- it's all electronic through credit - debit cards, transactions, etc.

    As to predictions, my brother says, "Charlie always falls into a bucket of shit, and comes up smelling like roses!" --
    Ever heard of the "New World Order"? Neither have I, but Google (which may / may not be infiltrated by zionists) has. What if Google were to use it's equipment from the first link to view the second and third? Last two are roughly the same, but first has people reacting to the current situation. / /

  3. Short and very effective beer commercial. Also banned!
    Anyone believe in reincarnation? Another Mozart in the making.
    Two stories, both showing one extreme of life (the very rich). Only one link, so I'll post a few paras. of the other one below. --

    "Swedish countess says she can't make ends meet on $43M

    "HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A 36-year-old Swedish countess divorcing a former CEO says she cannot live on $43 mln.

    "Marie Douglas-David, a former investment banker, says she has no income and needs her 67-year-old husband, George David, to pay her more than $53,000 a week -- more than most US households make in a year -- to cover her expenses."
    All figures are correct. There is a signed pre-nup which guarantees her $43 mln., but he wants that declared null and void. I wonder why -- after all, she agreed to sign it in the first place.

    She showed the judge that her weekly expenses consist of ". . . including for maintaining a Park Avenue apartment and three residences in Sweden. Her weekly expenses also include $700 for limousine service, $4,500 for clothes, $1,000 for hair and skin treatments, $1,500 for restaurants and entertainment and $8,000 for travel."
    He quit last year as Chief Exec. at United Technologies Corp., and has an estimated net worth of $329 mln.

    C.One (or anyone else), if you agree to divorce me, I guarantee that I'll sue for all of the above plus a whole lot more, then split it with y'all -- wot say you?!
    See the protests in France today, with biz. / union leaders walking side-by-side against Sarkozy's policies? Well, it's not just France -- things are heating up in other parts as well. --
    First sentence is kinda cute -- ". . . Chinese are as stupid as the rest of us . . .". No hope for us now, so we may as well go out in a blaze of glory! --
    You've heard of Burger King's Whoppers -- these are Wall Street's Whoppers! --
    Strictly to confuse you -- enormous profits ahead! How I wish I had extra cash to invest, 'coz there sure are bargains out there. --

  4. Don't eat much lobster, because I don't like the thought of a beast that has to be 30 years old to reach harvesting size dying for the transient pleasure of a few tasty bites when I'm not even starving. Now beef is something else!

    And here I had a shock cruising at a friendly Farm Boy/Loeb yesterday: T-bone steak for $28.37 a kilo. And it isn't even barbecue season yet! But fear not, domestic cheese in the Dairy Province of Ontario is reaching the same stratospheric price.

    Speaking of beef, remember the bad old days of - gasp - BSE in Canada, and how we could export no beef anywhere, and Alberta farmers got next to nothing a pound? So did prices decline to adjust to the sudden domestic oversupply? In a pig's eye, to mangle metaphors.

    I just love being had, but I'll never get used to it.

  5. A first step to bringing back the draft. --
    Wot say we enforce this type of legislation for our elected HoC? Would it make any difference? Maybe, 'coz not many of them would run for office again! --
    One major problem covering two entirely different countries. China and UK -- slumping factory orders. -- and
    In France yesterday, between two and three million people joined forces to protest their govt.'s inaction on the handling of the fiscal meltdown.

    Guess where else it's happening? --

  6. Charles, I just read the "Chinese are stupid" link, and besides getting a good laugh from such statements as; "although I politely remind tell that I am too old and hateful to give a crap about what they think about anything," I also appreciated his analysis on the comment passed by the Chinese gentleman.

    Having picked up on that statement after the G20 meeting, I also found it interesting that both Obama and Bernanke addressed the concern almost immediately afterward by making statements regarding the big financial institutions and their resolve to do whatever it takes to right the ship.

    In essence, I took these statements as a response to China and as an extension of the phrase now so famous, uttered by Dick Cheney.


  7. Charles, reading the link on China in your last post reminded me of a figure I saw while surfing recently. According to that source, industrial production has dropped 25.7 % That's got to hurt.

    Which reminds me of a little something from the real world I experienced recently. While restocking my rice and chocolate supply recently at the Dollar store, I noticed some nicely packaged chocolate by the cash register, picked up a bar, saw made in China on it, commented on that and put it back. The cashier overheard and remarked, "we have had to throw out a huge amount of products from China recently. That's why many of our prices have gone up some". To which I commented, I'm very watchful of where things are made these days. In my peripheral vision, I could see a number of other customers nodding in agreement.

    I'm of the mind that it's not just the recession that's causing the decline in China's exports.

  8. Dee, I heard the story on NBC nightly news, of ALL places and thought it was big. It's just never spoken of in those terms, by MSM. That's the shock to me. The dehumanizing and destruction of the PEOPLE OF PALESTINE, is well documented isn't it? (I'm with Carter and many others on this one) But the soldier's are admitting to something akin to war-crimes? The Israeli/US public need to quit spending so much time inside their own heads. Yeah, they really have it rough, don't they? linda.

  9. Herb, when I lived in Southern Ontario and bothered to look at the price of steak, I felt like I had just been T boned. I assessed the pricing as a simple matter of "charge what the market will bear young fella". A valuable piece of marketing advice I received from a seasoned vet when I was still just a whippersnapper. That pricing is absurd actually, but if consumers let them get away with it, they will. Another factor that I believe is coming into play is what I have commented on before at length. As demand for high end merchandise decreases, the established overheads are being covered by simply raising prices. The data to date supports this thinking.

    Cheese may well be different. Another story from my dark days while exiled in Ontario. I took note of the ongoing efforts of the Milk Marketing agency and it's bureaucratic henchmen making best efforts to deliver the final death blows to those more traditional Dairy farmers who had stuck to and with Cream quota as opposed to milk quota. Cream quota also used to be the last realistic avenue as an entry level effort to building a farming entity to one day be able to afford to move up to fluid milk quota status. There is no way to start a fluid milk farm from scratch. That's a lengthy story, but suffice to say the capital outlay will kill you, plain and simple. So, going the Cream route offered a chance over some decades to achieve that if one was careful, diligent and very hard working. Mennonite like. (Smile)

    So, the bureaucrats got their way via using supposed cases of bacterial contamination and traded out milk quota for cream quota and got rid of all the 300 and some odd cream producers still left in one fell swoop. It takes cream to make cheese, and that was supposed to be balanced off by the new fluid milk payment structure which was to be based on butterfat content as opposed to volume/weight. This was a kick in the nuts for most of the milk producers as well as they had built their herds from high volume cattle, mostly Holstein. This move made their cattle worth roughly half overnight. I doubt they have been able to adjust quickly enough to compensate and maintain high cream content volume lost when a lot of the Cream producers just threw in the towel and sold off their new quota for the extraordinary high price that it is worth. What happened to their cattle I can't say for sure, but I expect a lot didn't find their way into the herds of the fluid milk producers, thus quite likely possibly causing a supply issue. Understanding Dairymen as I do, I expect few were anxious to pay large sums to purchase the high volume cream breeds, given the boot to the nads they had just taken

    Back to beef for a second. Here in "Hard Times Land", steak has always been much cheaper. Presently T bone and good rib steak runs between $6 and $9 per pound on special. What I do is buy Top Sirloin roast and cut one steak off, test it and if it's high quality I steak the whole roast. My Grohmann commercial knife, manufactured in Pictou Co. N.S., has saved me a lot of money over the years. It cost about $60 back when I bought it, and it will outlast me. Now that's a KNOIFE!

  10. I have to wonder about the timing of all this leakage?? Perhaps they took their Depends off on purpose. How often do former leaders speak out in public?

    Comrade/Charles? Don't underestimate the Chinese. Lots of stuff going on there that we don't hear about. And when it comes to food safety we aren't safe with N.A. made products just as the Chinese aren't safe with some of their products made in China. They squeeze every penny of profit where ever they can and on every continent.

    I turn my nose up at almost all store bought chocolate bars because I won't eat edible oil products which is what most of it is. I also won't eat edible oil ice cream. I think most people have forgotten what real ice cream tastes like. Better to have a real treat once or twice a year then eating that rubbish.

    Obama was definitely sending a message.

    Don't know too much about the commercial fisheries. Let's hope they don't fish the lobster to extinction.

  11. Dee, I'm not going to run with the mainstream on the issues surrounding Israel, Palestinians and Gaza. I am thinking that the truth is relatively evident to anyone who isn't kissing arse for money to fund their political campaigns. And even they know shit from roses.
    We do too, it's just that they don't care if they smell like shit. They have the prestidigitizer, which in their minds, gives them the power. A very likely scenario, of course.

    I'm going to do a lengthy piece about this sometime in the future. But I need to focus on that and nothing else for a while. I think I will call it, "If I were a Jew." It will take me a while, because it's no easy subject.

    A momentary aside, if it weren't for the issues surrounding Tibet,Taiwan, Burma, and the Tank Man, I would be able to try harder to understand how truly difficult it is to admin a country of 1.3 billion.

    But, so long as people are oppressed against their will, I will have to question who is doing it, and why? Are there valid reasons? Is it for the greater good? Does a society which has existed for thousands of years need to be put under the boot?

    I know there is more wisdom in their ancient society, collectively than I could ever hope to have command of. Still, I remember the Tank Man, and I commend his courage and his statement that brute force is not the answer to the people's cry for freedom.