Fishermen swarm U.S. lobster truck in protest of prices
Published Thursday, August 2, 2012 2:04PM ADT
Last Updated Thursday, August 2, 2012 7:51PM ADT
Lobster fishermen in New Brunswick shut down two processing plants and blocked a truck from unloading 36,000 pounds of live Maine lobster Thursday.
They say they want a fair market price when lobster season opens next week on the Northumberland Strait, but they’re not going to get it when American lobster is being purchased at $2 per pound.
“We don’t want to do this but nobody knows what else to do,” says lobster fisher Debbie Thompson. “We all feel like we’re backed into a corner.”
The demonstrators claim processors told brokers not to buy local lobster when the season opens next week because prices are lower in the U.S. As a result, they plan to continue to block all shipments from the U.S. from unloading at local processing plants until they get a fair price for their catch.
“We had some information they don’t want to pay for our lobster,” says Bobby Donelle. “We’re talking about a couple dollars a pound, $2.50 or $3 a pound, and that’s not enough.”
The protest started Thursday morning at a processing plant in Cap-Pelé,but then shifted to Shediac after demonstrators received a tip that a U.S. truck carrying more than $200,000 worth of lobster had been diverted to Shediac in an attempt to avoid the blockade.
“It’s going to cause problems at the border now because, you know, our fishermen may start throwing a stink over there to stop these guy’s lobsters from coming over there too,” says Leonard Garnett, a truck driver from the U.S.
As word of the blockade spread, many residents in neighbouring communities came out to support the protesters.
“They’ve gotta fight for their rights,” says supporter Romain Richard. “If they don’t fight, who’s gonna fight for them?”
“They have families here and they have to support them and they’re not getting enough for their lobsters,” says supporter Sharon Richard.
Police escorted the truck out of the blockade Thursday afternoon, but one of the protesters followed the vehicle to ensure it wasn’t headed for another local processing plant.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jonathan MacInnis