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.