UPDATE: Lobster fishermen demonstrate outside West Prince lobster plant

Eric McCarthy
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Dozens of West Prince lobster fishermen descended upon the South Shore Seafoods Plant in Rosebank this morning to demonstrate outside the facility that is presently processing lobster from Maine.

The move follows a meeting last night, which saw fishermen vote overwhelmingly in favour of siding with their New Brunswick counterparts and delaying the opening of their season by four days.

Fishermen on both sides of the Northumberland Strait were due to start fishing Thursday but, on the heels of New Brunswick fishermen voting 71 per cent in favour of staying in port until Monday in hopes of driving up the shore price, Prince County fishermen in O'Leary Monday night voted 136-19 in favour of supporting their effort.

"This is the only time, right now, that we can show them a little bit of support," Prince County FishermenAssociation board member Michael Myers said.

The Prince County group's support is contingent on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans moving the closing date of the season from October 9 to October 13.

Fishermen on both sides of the strait are angered about the amount of Maine lobster being brought in for processing, claiming it is driving down the price they will get for their catches.

"They're cutting our throats right under our noses," Miminegash fishermen Robbie Wedge said of the plants bringing in Maine lobster.

"They're fighting for us. They shut down seven plants," Myers said of efforts taking place in New Brunswick. "We haven't done much yet."

He said the plants targeted were processing Maine lobster. Several fishermen at the O'Leary meeting were itching to storm from the meeting and drive to Rosebank to demonstrate outside of the South Shore Seafoods plant, which has been processing lobster from Maine, but were encouraged to wait until a more opportune time.

Myers said following the O'Leary vote he felt the outcome would promote goodwill between the two fishing groups.

"It's just common sense to support someone who has been fighting so hard over there. They fish with us and all our guys are fishing with them. Show a little bit of support."

Myers said he is confident fishers on both sides of the strait will head out to set gear on Monday Morning.

"We're shutting it down until Monday and that's it. Load Sunday and go Monday."

The goodwill the vote outcome generated could prove beneficial, Myers said.

"This will be the first-time that New Brunswick and P.E.I. fishermenwere on the same side, and if we are going to do anything with our lobsters in the future, it has to be like that. The two provinces can't be fighting amongst each other."

 

Organizations: Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Geographic location: New Brunswick, Prince, Maine Rosebank South Shore Seafoods

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Recent comments

  • Tahellwifem
    August 08, 2012 - 12:45

    When is the government going to stop catering to these clowns and throw a lot of these fishermen's asses in jail? It is ridiculous to allow thugs to control an industry and mess up other people's income. The Maine lobsters are not sick, it is the N.B., P.E.I. and N.S.lobster fishermen who are sick, selfish thugs

  • sheila
    August 07, 2012 - 18:25

    commenting back to yep!! why would they pay their wages only for the fisherman the plant workers wouldnt have work they should be thankful the fisherman are taking a stand because if this keeps up and someone gets sick they will stop all the lobster from pei from being sold and the states will los e nothing and things will be alot worst for them ... way to go fisherman stand your grounds and put an end to this from being done

    • Jamie MacKay
      August 07, 2012 - 20:38

      So, Sheila, you're all in support of outright thuggery? I'm a plant worker, most of my work is thanks to US lobsters my employer brings in. If everything goes well, I'll have about 10 months work this year. My employer also bought all the local lobster we could handle during the spring season. Now I have to fear being thrown out of work because of this? I'll be forced onto EI about 6 months earlier than expected if these clowns get their way. I don't find this fair at all, to myself, my co-workers, or my employer. This is a free country, and who the hell do these guys think they are trying to dictate to a privately owned company as to what and when they can process? I go to work everyday because it is my job, I work 70+ hours per week, and I owe the fisherman NOTHING! They do not deposit my paycheck into my bank account every Friday, do they? Oh, and this crap about people getting sick? Please give me one example. The Maine lobsters are perfectly edible, no one has gotten sick, and if anything is dead or rotten, it is tossed out. Get your facts straight.

  • Brenda
    August 07, 2012 - 16:14

    Are these processed lobster being sent back to the USA or are they sold here in Canada . When I buy processed lobster I want to buy PEI lobster but I cannot even be sure of this as most of our lobster is processed in NB and likely mixed with NB lobster.

    • Adam
      August 07, 2012 - 22:10

      ....You do know that PEI and NB lobster is same? There is no taste difference, there is no difference in there appearance. Same species, same family, the lobster travels all over the area.

    • Brenda
      August 08, 2012 - 07:53

      I want to buy PEI lobster and support the PEI fisherman. As far as Maine goes, I do not know how they taste but reports are that they are inferior to PEI lobster.

  • Yep
    August 07, 2012 - 15:51

    Wondering if the fishermen are going to pay the plant workers wages for lost time at work this week?

    • Kerin
      August 08, 2012 - 13:46

      You guys have one viable resourse left to make a living on and you are very close to killing that as well. Look at Polar Foods etc. there are quite a few plant opperators exploring the option of moving there plants to the states right now. How much less do you think that you will be paid for a lobster that has to trucked there? You think that you have shut down the processing facilities processing Maine lobster think again, there are quite a few in Quebec and Nova Scotia going full bore. You are only hurting your own people your neighbors.