Commercial fishermen dealing with off the chart fuel prices

PLYMOUTH, Mass. — The fuel prices are also affecting prices out at sea. Many commercial fisherman use diesel, which is now running well over 6 dollars a gallon.  Captain James Keding has been running Mary K, named after his mother, for 38 years. He says his mussel harvesting operation is taking a huge hit from fuel prices.  “Back in 2019, I paid $1.50 a gallon, now I’m paying $6.50 a gallon,” said Keding. Captain Keding says they can’t just pass these costs on to buyers because of the way the wholesaler system works. “The buyers set the price for the product it is, no matter what product is coming out of the ocean,” said Keding.

Lobstermen are also in a pinch. Captain Dave Hobson says the Right Whale restrictions were just lifted so everyone in his line of work is trying to run their traps out with the higher fuel costs.  They are hoping this year’s wholesale buyer rates reflect higher fuel rates. “It’s three times what it was last year,” said Hobson.  Captain Hobson also runs Wavelength Fishing Charters which had a rough time during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I’m contemplating doing a fuel surcharge if this doesn’t straighten out,” said Hobson, “some how we have to cover our costs.” Captain Hobson says fishing charter businesses are seeing people tighten up their own budgets as they pay the higher fuel costs. So it really is a vicious circle impacting all aspects of the economy.

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